BEFORE we take a view of the sects of the Muhammadans, it will be necessary to say something of the two sciences by which all disputed questions among them are determined, viz., their Scholastic and Practical Divinity.

Muhammadan scholasticism

Their scholastic divinity is a mongrel science, consisting of logical, metaphysical, theological, and philosophical disquisitions, and built on principles and methods of reasoning very different from what are used by those who pass among the Muhammadans themselves for the sounder divines or more able philosophers,1 and, therefore, in the partition of the sciences this is generally left out, as unworthy a place among them.2 The learned Maimonides 3 has laboured to expose the principles and systems of the scholastic divines, as frequently repugnant to the nature of the world and the order of the creation, and intolerably absurd.

Its origin and use

This art of handling religious disputes was not known in the infancy of Muhammadanism, but was brought in when sects sprang up, and articles of religion began to be called in question, and was at first made use of to defend the truth of those articles against innovators;4 and while

1 Poc. Spec., p. 196.

2 Apud Ibn Sina, in Libello de Divisione Scientiar., et Nasiru'ddin al Tusi, in PrŠfat. ad Ethic.

3 More Nevoch., I. 1, c.71 and 73.

4 Al Ghazali, apud Poc. Spec., ubi supra.


it keeps within those bounds is allowed to be a commendable study, being necessary for the defence of the faith; but when it proceeds farther, out of an itch of disputation, it is judged worthy of censure.

This is the opinion of al Ghazali,1 who observes a medium between those who have too high a value for this science, and those who absolutely reject it. Among the latter was al Shafii, who declared that, in his judgment, if any man employed his time that way, he deserved to be fixed to a stake and carried about through all the Arab tribes, with the following proclamation to be made before him: "This is the reward of him who, leaving the Quran and the Sunnat, applied himself to the study of scholastic divinity."2 Al Ghazali, on the other hand, thinks that as it was introduced by the invasion of heresies, it is necessary to be retained in order to quell them; but then in the person who studies this science he requires three things - diligence, acuteness of judgment, and probity of manners; and is by no means for suffering the same to be publicly explained.3 This science therefore, among the Muhammadans, is the art of controversy, by which they discuss points of faith concerning the essence and attributes of GOD, and the conditions of all possible things, either in respect to their creation or final restoration, according to the rules of the religion of Islam.4

The other science is practical divinity or jurisprudence, and is the knowledge of the decisions of the law which regard practice, gathered from distinct proofs.

Muslim jurisprudence

Al Ghazali declares that he had much the same opinion of this science as of the former, its original being owing to the corruption of religion and morality; and therefore judged both sciences to be necessary, not in themselves, but by accident only; to curb the irregular imaginations and passions of mankind (as guards become necessary in

1 Apud Poc. Spec., ubi supra.

2 Ibid., p. 197.

3 Ibid.

4 Ibn al Kossa, apud eund., ibid., p. 198.


the highways by reason of robbers), the end of the first being the suppression of heresies, and of the other the decision of legal controversies, for the quiet and peaceable living of mankind in this world, and for the preserving the rule by which the magistrate may prevent one man from injuring another, by declaring what is lawful and what is unlawful, by determining the satisfaction to be given or punishment to be inflicted, and by regulating other outward actions; and not only so, but to decide of religion itself, and its conditions, so far as relates to the profession made by the mouth, it not being the business of the civilian to inquire into the heart:1 the depravity of men's manners, however, has made this knowledge of the laws so very requisite, that it is usually called the Science, by way of excellence, nor is any man reckoned learned who has not applied himself thereto.2

Points of faith subject to scholastic discussion.

The points of faith subject to the examination and discussion of the scholastic divines are reduced to four general heads, which they call the four bases, or great fundamental articles.3

The first basis relates to the attributes of GOD: and his unity consistent therewith. Under this head are comprehended the questions concerning the eternal attributes, which are asserted by some and denied by others; and also the explication of the essential attributes and attributes of action, what is proper for GOD to do; and what may be affirmed of him, and what it is impossible for him to do. These things are controverted between the Asharians, the Karamians, the Mujassamians or Corporalits, and the Mutazilites.4

The second basis regards predestination, and the justice thereof, which comprises the questions concerning GOD'S purpose and decree, man's compulsion or necessity to act,

1 Al Ghazali, Poc. Spec., pp. 198-204.

2 Vide ibid., p. 204.

3 Vide Abulfarag, Hist. Dynast., p. 166.

4 Al Shahristani, apud Poc. Spec. ubi supra, p. 204, &c.


and his co-operation in producing actions by which he may gain to himself good or evil, and also those which concern GOD'S willing good and evil, and what things are subject to his power, and what to his knowledge; some maintaining the affirmative, and others the negative. These points are disputed among the Qadrians, the Najrians, the Jabrians, the Asharians, and the Karamians.1

The third basis concerns the promises and threats, the precise acceptation of names used in divinity, and the divine decisions, and comprehends questions relating to faith, repentance, promises, threats, forbearance, infidelity, and error. The controversies under this head are on foot between the Murjians, the Waidians, the Mutazilites, the Asharians, and the Karamians.2

The fourth basis regards history and reason, that is, the just weight they ought to have in matters belonging to faith and religion, and also the mission of the prophets and the office of the Imam or chief pontiff. Under this head are comprised all casuistical questions relating to the moral beauty or turpitude of actions; inquiring whether things are allowed or forbidden by reason of their own nature or by the positive law; and also questions concerning the preference of actions, the favour or grace of GOD, the innocence which ought to attend the prophetical office, and the conditions requisite in the office of Imam; some asserting it depends on right of succession, others on the consent of the faithful; and also the method of transferring it with the former, and of confirming it with the latter. These matters are the subjects of dispute between the Shiahs, the Mutazilites, the Karmians, and the Asharians.3

The sects of Islam.

The different sects of Muhammadans may be distinguished into two sorts - those generally esteemed orthodox, and those which are esteemed heretical.

1 Al Shahristani, apud Poc., ubi sup., p. 205.

2 Idem, ibid., p. 206.

3 Idem, ibid


The former, by a general name, are called Sunnis or Traditionists, because they acknowledge the authority of the Sunnat, or collection of moral traditions of the sayings and actions of their prophet, which is a sort of supplement to the Quran, directing the observance of several things omitted in that book, and in name as well as design answering to the Mishna of the Jews.1

Divisions of the Sunnis: the four orthodox sects.

The Sunnis are subdivided into four chief sects, which, notwithstanding some differences as to legal conclusions the four in their interpretation of the Quran and matters of practice, are generally acknowledged to be orthodox in radicals or matters of faith and capable of salvation, and have each of them their several stations or oratories in the temple of Makkah.2 The founders of these sects are looked upon as the great masters of jurisprudence, and are said to have been men of great devotion and self-denial, well versed in the knowledge of those things which belong to the next life and to man's right conduct here, and directing all their knowledge to the glory of GOD. This is al Ghazali's encomium of them, who thinks it derogatory to their honour that their names should be used by those who, neglecting to imitate the other virtues which make up their character, apply themselves only to attain their skill and follow their opinions in matters of legal practice.3

The Hanifites

The first of the four orthodox sects is that of the Hanifites, so named from their founder, Abu Hanifa al Numan Ibn Thabit, who was born at Kufa in the 80th year of the Hijra, and died in the 150th, according to the more preferable opinion as to the time.4 He ended his life in prison at Baghdad, where he had been confined because he refused to be made qadi or judge,5 on which

1 Vide Poc. Spec., p. 298. Prid., Life of Mahomet, p. 51, &c. Reland, De Rel. Moh., p. 68, &C. Millium, De Mohammedismo ante Moh., pp 368, 369.

2 See ante, p. 205.

3 Vide Poc. Spec., p. 293.

4 Ibn Khallikan.

5 This was the true cause of his imprisonment and death, and not his refusing to subscribe to the opinion of absolute predestination.


account he was very hardly dealt with by his superiors, yet could not be prevailed on, either by threats or ill-treatment, to undertake the charge, "choosing rather to be punished by them than by God," says al Ghazali, who adds, that when he excused himself from accepting the office by alleging that he was unfit for it, being asked the reason, he replied, "If I speak the truth, I am unfit; but if I tell a lie, a liar is not fit to be a judge." It is said that he read the Quran in the prison where he died no less than 7000 times.1

The Hanifites are called by an Arabian writer 2 the followers of reason, and those of the three other sects, followers of tradition, the former being principally guided by their own judgment in their decisions, and the latter adhering more tenaciously to the traditions of Muhammad.

The sect of Abu Hanif a heretofore obtained chiefly in Irak,3 but now generally prevails among the Turks and Tartars: his doctrine was brought into great credit by Abu Yusuf, chief-justice under the Khalifahs al Hadi and Harun al Rashid.4

Malik Ibn Ans and his sect.

The second orthodox sect is that of Malik Ibn Ans, who was born at Madina in the year of the Hijra 90, 93, 94,5 or 95,6 and died there in 177,7 178,8 or 179 9 (for so much do authors differ). This doctor is said to have paid great regard to the traditions of Muhammad. 10 In his last illness, a friend going to visit him, found him in tears, and asking him the reason of it, he answered, "How should I not weep? and who has more reason to weep

as D'Herbelot writes (Bibl. Orient., p. 21), misled by the dubious acceptation of the word "qada," which signifies not only God's decree in particular, but also the giving sentence as a judge in general; nor could Abu Hanifa have been reckoned orthodox had he denied one of the principal articles of faith.

1 Poc. Spec., pp. 297, 298.

2 Al Sharistani, ibid.

3 Idem.

4 Vide D'Herbel., Bibl. Orient., pp. 21 and 22.

5 Albufeda.

6 Ibn Khallikan.

7 Idem.

8 Albufeda.

9 Ehnacinus, p. 114

10 Ibn Khallikan. Vide Poc. Spec., p. 294.


than I? Would to GOD that for every question decided by me according to my own opinion I had received so many stripes! then would my accounts be easier. Would to GOD I had never given any decision of my own"1 Al Ghazali thinks it a sufficient proof of Malik's directing his knowledge to the glory of GOD, that being once asked his opinion as to forty-eight questions, his answer to thirty-two of them was, that he did not know; it being no easy matter for one who has any other view than GOD's glory to make so frank a confession of his ignorance.2

The doctrine of Malik is chiefly followed in Barbary and other parts of Africa.

Muhammad Ibn Idris al Shafii

The author of the third orthodox sect was Muhammad Ibn Idris al Shafii, born either at Gaza or Ascalon, in Palestine, in the year of the Hijra 150, the same day (as some will have it) that Abu Hanifa died, and was carried to Makkah at two years of age, and there educated.3 He died in 204,4 in Egypt, whither he went about five years before.5 This doctor is celebrated for his excellency in all parts of learning, and was much esteemed by Ibn Hanbal, his contemporary, who used to say that "he was as the sun to the world, and as health to the body." Ibn Hanbal, however, had so ill an opinion of al Shafii at first, that he forbade his scholars to go near him; but some time after one of them, meeting his master trudging on foot after al Shafii, who rode on a mule, asked him how it came about that he forbade them to follow him, and did it himself; to which Ibn Hanbal replied, "Hold thy peace; if thou but attend his mule thou wilt profit thereby."6

Al Shafii is said to have been the first who discoursed of jurisprudence, and reduced that science into a method;7 one wittily saying, that the relators of the traditions of

1 Ibn Khallikan, Poc. Spec., apud eund. ibid.

2 Al Ghazali, ibid.

3 Ibn Khallikan.

4 Yet Abulfeda says he lived fiftyeight years.

5 Ibn Khallikan.

6 Idem.

7 Idem.


Muhammad were asleep till al Shafii came and waked them.1 He was a great enemy to the scholastic divines, as has been already observed.2 Al Ghazali tells us that al Shafii used to divide the night into three parts, one for study, another for prayer, and the third for sleep. It is also related of him that he never so much as once swore by GOD, either to confirm a truth or to affirm a falsehood; and that being once asked his opinion, he remained silent for some time, and when the reason of his silence was demanded, he answered, "I am considering first whether it be better to speak or to hold my tongue." The following saying is also recorded of him, viz., "Whoever pretends to love the world and its Creator at the same time is a liar."3 The followers of this doctor are from him called Shafiites, and were formerly spread into Mawara'lnahr and other parts eastward, but are now chiefly of Arabia and Persia.

Ahmad Ibn Hanbal.

Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, the founder of the fourth sect, was born in the year of the Hijra 164; but as to the place of his birth there are two traditions: some say he was born at Miru in Khurasan, of which city his parents were, and that his mother brought him from thence to Baghdad at her breast; while others assure us that she was with child of him when she came to Baghdad, and that he was born there.4 Ibn Hanbal in process of time attained a great reputation on account of his virtue and knowledge; being so well versed in the traditions of Muhammad in particular, that it is said he could repeat no less than a million of them.5 He was very intimate with al Shafii, from whom he received most of his traditionary knowledge, being his constant attendant till his departure for Egypt.6 Refusing to acknowledge the Quran to be created,7 he was, by order of the Khalifah al Mutasim, severely scourged and imprisoned.8 Ibn Hanbal died at Baghdad, in the

1 Al Zafarani, apud Poc. Spec., p. 296.

2 See ante, p. 118.

3 Vide Poc. Spec., pp. 295-297.

4 Ibn Khallikan.

5 Ibn Khallikan.

6 Idem.

7 See ante, Sect. III., p. 111, &C.

8 Ibn Khallikan, Abulfarag, Hist. Dyn., p. 252, &c.


year 241, and was followed to his grave by eight hundred thousand men and sixty thousand women. It is related, as something very extraordinary, if not miraculous, that on the day of his death no less than twenty thousand Christians, Jews, and Magians embraced the Muhammadan faith.1 This sect increased so fast and became so powerful and bold that in the year 323, in the Khalifat of al Radi, they raised a great commotion in Baghdad, entering people's houses, and spilling their wine, if they found any, and beating the singing-women they met with, and breaking their instruments; and a severe edict was published against them before they could be reduced to their duty 2; but the Hanbalites at present are not very numerous, few of them being to be met with out of the limits of Arabia.

Heretical sects of Muhammadans.

The heretical sects among the Muhammadans are those which hold heterodox opinions in fundamentals or matters of faith.

The first controversies relating to fundamentals began when most of the companions of Muhammad were dead;3 for in their days was no dispute, unless about things of small moment, if we except only the dissensions concerning the Imams, or rightful successors of their prophet, which were stirred up and fomented by interest and ambition; the Arabs' continual employment in the wars during that time allowing them little or no leisure to enter into nice inquiries and subtle distinctions. But no sooner was the ardour of conquest a little abated than they began to examine the Quran more nearly; whereupon differences in opinion became unavoidable, and at length so greatly multiplied, that the number of their sects, according to the common opinion, are seventy-three. For the Muhammadans seem ambitious that their religion should exceed others even in this respect, saying, that the Magians are

1 Ibn Khallikan.

2 Abulfar., ubi supra, p. 301, &C.

3 Al Shahristani, apud Poc Spec., p. 194; Auctor Sharh al Mawakif, apud eund, p. 210.


divided into seventy sects, the Jews into seventy-one, the Christians into seventy-two, and the Muslims into seventy-three, as Muhammad had foretold;1 of which sects they reckon one to be always orthodox and entitled to salvation.2

The Kharijites

The first heresy was that of the Kharijites, who revolted from Ali in the thirty-seventh year of the Hijra; and not long after, Mabad al Johni, Ghailan of Damascus, and Jonas al Aswari broached heterodox opinions concerning predestination and the ascribing of good and evil unto GOD, whose opinions were followed by Wasil Ibn Ata'.3 This latter was the scholar of Hasan of Basra, in whose school a question being proposed, whether he who had committed a grievous sin was to be deemed an infidel or not, the Kharijites (who used to come and dispute there) maintaining the affirmative, and the orthodox the negative, Wasil, without waiting his master's decision, withdrew abruptly, and began to publish among his fellow-scholars a new opinion of his own, to wit, that such a sinner was in a middle state; and he was thereupon expelled the school; he and his followers being thenceforth called Mutazilites or Separatists.4

The several sects which have arisen since this time are variously compounded and decompounded of the opinions of four chief sects, the Mutazilites, the Sifatians, the Kharijites, and the Shiites.5

The Mutazilites

I. The Mutazilites were the followers of the before-mentioned Wasil Ibn Ata'. As to their chief and general tenets: I. They entirely rejected all eternal attributes of

1 Vide Poc. Spec., ubi sup.

2 Al Shahristani, apud eund., p. 211.

3 Idem, and Auctor Sharh al Mawakif, ubi sup.

4 Idem, ibid., pp. 211, 212, and Ibn Khallikan in Vita Wasili.

5 Al Shahristani, who also reduces them to four chief sects, puts the Qadarians in the place of the Mutazilites Abulfaragius (Hist. Dyn., p. 166) reckons six principal sects, adding the Jabarians and the Murjians; and the author of Sharh al Mawakif, eight, viz., the Mutazilites, the Shiites, the Kharijites, the Murjians, the Najarians, the Jabarians, the Mushabbihites, and the sect which he calls al Najia, because that alone will be saved, being according to him the sect of the Asharians. Vide Poc. Spec., p. 209.


GOD, to avoid the distinction of persons made by the Christians, saying that eternity is the proper or formal attribute of his essence; that GOD knows by his essence, and not by his knowledge;1 and the same they affirmed of his other attributes 2 (though all the Mutazilites do not understand these words in one sense); and hence this sect were also named Muattalites, from their divesting GOD of his attributes;3 and they went so far as to say that to affirm these attributes is the same thing as to make more eternals than one, and that the unity of GOD is inconsistent with such an opinion;4 and this was the true doctrine of Wasil their master, who declared that whoever asserted an eternal attribute asserted there were two GODS.5 This point of speculation concerning the divine attributes was not ripe at first, but was at length brought to maturity by Wasil's followers after they had read the books of the philosophers.6 2. They believed the Word of GOD to have been created in subjecto (as the schoolmen term it), and to consist of letters and sound, copies thereof being written in books to express or imitate the original. They also went farther, and affirmed that whatever is created in subjecto is also an accident and liable to perish.7 3. They denied absolute predestination, holding that GOD was not the author of evil, but of good only, and that man was a free agent;8 which being properly the opinion of the Qadarians, we defer what may be further said thereof till we come to speak of that sect. On account of this tenet and the first, the Mutazilites look on themselves as the defenders of

1 Maimonides teaches the same, not as the doctrine of the Mutazilites, but his own. Vide More, Nev. 1. I. c 57.

2 Al Shahnstani, apui Poc. Spec., p. 214; Abulfarag, p. 167.

3 Vide Poc. Spec., p. 224.

4 Sharh al Mawakif, and al Shahrist.,apud Poc., p. 216. Maimonides (in Proleg. ad Pirke Aboth.1 ž 8)asserts the same thing.

5 Vide Poc. Spec., ibid.

6 Al Shahrist., ibid. p. 215.

7 Abulfarag and al Shahrist., ubi sup., p. 217. See supra, Sect. III., p. 112.

8 Vide Poc Spec., p. 240.


the unity and justice of GOD.1 4. They held that if a professor of the true religion be guilty of a grievous sin and die without repentance, he will be eternally damned, though his punishment will be lighter than that of the infidels.2 5. They denied all vision of GOD in paradise by the corporeal eye, and rejected all comparisons or similitudes applied to GOD.3

Various divisions of this sect.

This sect are said to have been the first inventors of scholastic divinity 4 and are subdivided into several inferior sects, amounting, as some reckon, to twenty, which mutually brand one another with infidelity.5 The most remarkable of them are:-

The Hudailians.

i. The Hudailians, or followers of Hamadan Abu Hudail, a Mutazilite doctor, who differed something from the common form of expression used by this sect, saying that GOD knew by his knowledge, but that his knowledge was his essence; and so of the other attributes: which opinion he took from the philosophers who affirm the essence of GOD to be simple and without multiplicity, and that his attributes are not posterior or accessory to his essence, or subsisting therein, but are his essence itself; and this the more orthodox take to be next kin to making distinctions in the deity, which is the thing they so much abhor in the Christians.6 As to the Quran's being created, he made some distinction, holding the Word of GOD to be partly not in subjecto (and therefore uncreated), as when he spake the word Kum i.e., fiat, at the creation, and partly in subjecto, as the precepts, prohibitions, &c.7 Marracci 8 mentions an opinion of Abu Hudail's concerning predestination, from an Arab writer,9 which being by him expressed in a manner not very intelligible, I choose to omit.

1 Al Shahrist. and Sharh al Mawakif, apud Poc., ubi sup., p. 214.

2 Marracc., Prodr. ad ref. Alcor., part 3, p. 74.

3 Idem, ibid.

4 Vide Poc. Spec., p. 213, and D'Herbel, art. Mutazilah.

5 Auctor al Mawakif, apud Poc. ibid.

6 Al Shahristani, apud Poc. pp 215,216, 217.

7 Idem, apud eund., p. 217, I &c.

8 In Prodr., part 3, p. 74.

9 Al Shahristani.


The Jubbaians.

2. The Jubbaians, or followers of Abu Ali Muhammad Abd al Wahab, surnamed al Jubbai, whose meaning when he made use of the common expression of the Mutazilites, that "GOD knows by his essence," &c., was that GOD'S being knowing is not an attribute the same with knowledge, nor such a state as rendered, his being knowing necessary.1 He held GOD'S Word to be created in subjecto, as in the preserved table, for example, the memory of Gabriel, Muhammad, &c.2 This sect, if Marracci has given the true sense of his author, denied that GOD could be seen in paradise without the assistance of corporeal eyes, and held that man produced his acts by a power superadded to health of body and soundness of limbs; that he who was guilty of a mortal sin was neither a believer nor an infidel, but a transgressor (which was the original opinion of Wasil), and if he died in his sins, would be doomed to hell for eternity; and that GOD conceals nothing of whatever he knows from his servants.3

The Hashamians.

3. The Hashamians, who were so named from their master, Abu Hasham Abd al Salam, the son of Abu Ali al Jubba'i, and whose tenets nearly agreed with those of the preceding sect.4 Abu Hasham took the Mutazilite form of expression that "GOD knows by his essence" in a different sense from others, supposing it to mean that GOD hath or is endued with a disposition which is a known property or quality posterior or accessory to his existence.5 His followers were so much afraid of making GOD the author of evil that they would not allow him to be said to create an infidel, because, according to their way of arguing, an infidel is a compound of infidelity and man, and GOD is not the creator of infidelity.6 Abu Hasham

1 Al Shahristani, apud Poc. Spec., p. 215.

2 Idem, and Auctor al Mawakif, ibid., p. 218.

3 Marracci, ubi sup., p. 75, ex a Shahristani.

4 Idem, ibid.

5 Al Shahrist., apud Poc., p. 215.

6 Idem, ibid., p. 242.


and his father, Abu Ali al Jubbai, were both celebrated for their skill in scholastic divinity.1

The Nudhamians.

4. The Nudhamians, or followers of Ibrahim al Nudham, who having read books of philosophy, set up a new sect, and imagining he could not sufficiently remove GOD from being the author of evil without divesting him of his power in respect thereto, taught that no power ought to be ascribed to GOD concerning evil and rebellious actions; but this he affirmed against the opinion of his own disciples, who allowed that GOD could do evil, but did not, because of its turpitude.2 Of his opinion as to the Quran's being created we have spoken elsewhere.3

The Hayatians.

The Hayatians, so named from Ahmad Ibn Hayat, who had been of the sect of the Nudhamians, but broached some new notions on reading the philosophers. His peculiar opinions were: I. That Christ was the eternal Word incarnate, and took a true and real body, and will judge all creatures in the life to come:4 he also farther asserted that there are two GODS or Creators----the one eternal, viz., the most high GOD, and the other not eternal, viz., Christ 5 - which opinion, though Dr. Pocock urges the same as an argument that he did not rightly under-stand the Christian mysteries,6 is not much different from that of the Arians and Socinians. 2. That there is a successive transmigration of the soul from one body into another, and that the last body will enjoy the reward or suffer the punishment due to each soul;7 and 3. That GOD will be seen at the resurrection, not with the bodily eyes, but those of the understanding.8

The Jahidhians

6. The Jahidhians, or followers of Amru Ibn Bahr, surnamed al Jahidh, a great doctor of the Mutazilites,

1 Ibn Khallikan, in Vitis Eorem.

2 Al Shahrist., ubi sup., pp. 241, 242. Vide Marracc., Prod., part 3, p. 74.

3 See supra, Sect. III., p. 113.

4 Al Shahrist., ubi sup., p. 218; Abulfarag, p. 167.

5 Al Shahrist., al Mawakif, et Ibn Kussa apud Poc. Spec., ubi sup., p. 219.

6 Vide Poc. Spec., ibid.

7 Marracc. et al Shahrist., ubi sup.

8 Marracc., ibid., p. 75.


and very much admired for the elegance of his composures,1 who differed from his brethren in that he imagined that the damned would not be eternally tormented in hell, but would be changed into the nature of fire, and that the fire would of itself attract them, without any necessity of their going into it.2 He also taught that if a man believed GOD to be his Lord and Muhammad the apostle of GOD, he became one of the faithful, and was obliged to nothing farther.3 His peculiar opinion as to the Quran has been taken notice of before.4

The Muzdarians.

7. The Muzdarians, who embraced the opinions of Isa Ibn Subaih al Muzdar, and those very absurd ones; for, besides his notions relating to the Quran,5 he went so directly counter to the opinion of those who abridged GOD of the power to do evil, that he affirmed it possible for GOD to be a liar and unjust.6 He also pronounced him to be an infidel who thrust himself into the supreme government;7 nay, he went so far as to assert men to be infidels while they said "There is no GOD but GOD," and even condemned all the rest of mankind as guilty of infidelity; upon which Ibrabim Ibn al Sandi asked him whether paradise, whose breadth equals that of heaven and earth, was created only for him and two or three more who thought as he did? to which it is said he could return no answer.8

The Basharians.

8. The Basharians, who maintained the tenets of Bashar Ibn Mutamir, the master of al Muzdar,9 and a principal man among the Mutazilites. He differed in some things from the general opinion of that sect, carrying man's free agency to a great excess, making it even independent; and yet he thought GOD might doom an infant to eternal punishment, but granted he would be unjust in so doing.

1 Vide D'Herbel, Bibl. Orient.,

2 Al Shahrist., ubi sup., p. 260.

3 Marracc., ubi sup.

4 Sect. III, p. 113.

5 Vide ibid., and p. 112.

6 Al Shahrist., apud Poc., p. 241.

7 Marracc., ubi sup., p. 75.

8 Al Shahrist., ubi sup., p. 220.

9 Poc. Spec., p. 221.


He taught that GOD is not always obliged to do that which is best, for if he pleased he could make all men true believers. These sectaries also held that if a man repent of a mortal sin and afterwards return to it, he will be liable to suffer the punishment due to the former transgression.1

The Thamamians

9. The Thamamians, who follow Thamama Ibn Bashar, a chief Mutazilite. Their peculiar opinions were: 1. That sinners should remain in hell for ever. 2. That free actions have no producing author. 3. That at the resurrection all infidels, idolaters, atheists, Jews, Christians, Magians, and heretics shall be reduced to dust.2

The Qadarians.

10. The Qadarians, which is really a more ancient name than that of Mutazilites, Mabad al Johni and his adherents being so called, who disputed the doctrine of Predestination before Wasil quitted his master;3 for which reason some use the denomination of Qadarians as more extensive than the other, and comprehend all the Mutazilites under it.4 This sect deny absolute predestination, saying that evil and injustice ought not to be attributed to GOD, but to man, who is a free agent, and may therefore be rewarded or punished for his actions, which GOD has granted him power either to do or to let alone.5 And hence it is said they are called Qadarians because they deny al Qadr, or GOD'S absolute decree; though others, thinking it not so proper to affix a name to a sect from a doctrine which they combat, will have it come from Qadir or Qudrat, i.e., power, because they assert man's power to act freely.6 Those, however, who give the name of Qadarians to the Mutazilites are their enemies, for they disclaim it, and give it to their antagonists, the Jabarians, who likewise refuse it as an infamous appellation,7 because Muhammad is said to have declared

1 Marracc, ubi sup.

2 Idem, ibid.

3 Al Shahrist.

4 Al Firauzab. Vide Poc. Spec., pp. 231, 232, and 214.

5 Al Shahrist. Vide Poc. Spec., pp 235 and 240, &C.

6 Vide Poc. Spec., ibid., p. 238.

7 Al Mutarrizi, al Shahrist. Vide ibid., p. 232.


the Qadarians to be the Magians of his followers.1 But what the opinion of these Qadarians in Muhammad's time was is very uncertain. The Mutazilites say the name belongs to those who assert predestination and make GOD the author of good and evil,2 viz., the Jabarians; but all the other Muhammadan sects agree to fix it on the Mutazilites, who, they say, are like the Magians in establishing two principles, Light, or GOD, the author of good; and Darkness, or the devil, the author of evil; but this cannot absolutely be said of the Mutazilites, for they (at least the generality of them) ascribe men's good deeds to GOD, but their evil deeds to themselves; meaning thereby that man has a free liberty and power to do either good or evil, and is master of his actions; and for this reason it is that the other Muhammadans call them Magians, because they assert another author of act ions besides GOD.3 And indeed it is a difficult matter to say what Muhammad's own opinion was in this matter; for on the one side the Quran itself is pretty plain for absolute predestination, and many sayings of Muhammad are recorded to that purpose,4 and one in particular, wherein he introduces Adam and Moses disputing before GOD in this manner: "Thou," says Moses, "art Adam, whom GOD created, and animated with the breath of life, and caused to be worshipped by the angels, and placed in paradise, from whence mankind have been expelled for thy fault;" whereto Adam answered, "Thou art Moses, whom GOD chose for his apostle, and intrusted with his Word by giving thee the tables of the law, and whom he vouchsafed to admit to discourse with himself: how many years dost thou find the law was written before I was created?" Says Moses, "Forty." "And, dost thou not find," replied Adam, "these words therein, 'And Adam rebelled against his Lord. and transgressed'?" which

1 Al Mutarrizi, al Shahrist., &C. ibid.

2 Idem, ibid.

3 Vide Poc., ibid., p. 233, &C.

4 Vide ibid., p. 237.


Moses confessing, "Dost thou therefore blame me," continued he, for doing that which GOD wrote of me that I should do forty years before I was created? nay, for what was decreed concerning me fifty thousand years before the creation of heaven and earth?" In the conclusion of which dispute Muhammad declared that Adam had the better of Moses.1 On the other side, it is urged in the behalf of the Mutazilites, that Muhammad declaring that the Qadarians and Murjians had been cursed by the tongues of seventy prophets, and being asked who the Qadarians were, answered, "Those who assert that GOD predestinated them to be guilty of rebellion, and yet punishes them for it." Al Hasan is also said to have declared that GOD sent Muhammad to the Arabs while they were Qadarians or Jabarians, and laid their sins upon GOD: and to confirm the matter, this sentence of the Quran is quoted:2 "When they commit a filthy action, they say, We found our fathers practising the same, and GOD hath commanded us so to do: Say, Verily GOD commandeth not filthy actions."3

The Sifatians.

II. The Sifatians held the opposite opinion to the Mutazilites in respect to the eternal attributes of GOD, which they affirmed, making no distinction between the essential attributes and those of operation; and hence they were named Sifatians, or Attributists. Their doctrine was that of the first Muhammadans, who were not yet acquainted with these nice distinctions: but this sect; afterwards introduced another species of declarative attributes, or such as were necessarily used in historical narration, as hands, face, eyes, &c., which they did not offer to explain, but contented themselves with saying they were in the law, and that they called them declarative attributes.4 However, at length, by giving various explications and interpretations of these attributes, they divided

1 Ibn al Athir, al Bokhari, apud Poc. Spec., p. 236.

2 Cap. 7, v. 29.

3 Al Mutarrizi, apud eund. pp. 237, 238.

4 Al Shahrist, Poc. Spec., p. 223.


into many different opinions: some, by taking the words in the literal sense, fell into the notion of a likeness or similitude between GOD and created beings; to which it. is said the Karaites among the Jews, who are for the literal interpretation of Moses's law, had shown them the way:1 others explained them in another manner, saying that no creature was like GOD, but that they neither understood nor thought it necessary to explain the precise signification of the words, which seem to affirm the same of both, it being sufficient to believe that GOD hath no companion or similitude. Of this opinion was Malik Ibn Ans, who declared as to the expression of GOD'S' sitting on his throne, in particular, that though the meaning is known, yet the manner is unknown; and that it is necessary to believe it, but heresy to make any questions about it.2

The sects of the Sifatians are :-

The Asharians.

I. The Asharians, the followers of Abu'l Hasan al Asharf, who was first a Mutazilite, and the scholar of Abu Ali al Jobbai, but disagreeing from his master in opinion as to GOD'S being bound (as the Mutazilites assert) to do always that which is best or most expedient, left him and set up a new sect of himself. The occasion of this difference was the putting a case concerning three brothers, the first of whom lived in obedience to GOD, the second in rebellion against him, and the third died an infant. Al Jobbai being asked what he thought would become of them, answered, that the first would be rewarded in paradise, the second punished in hell, and the third neither rewarded nor punished. "But what," objected al Ashari, "if the third say, O LORD, if thou hadst given me longer life, that I might have entered paradise with my believing brother, it would have been better for me?" To which al Jobbai replied, "That GOD would answer, I knew that if thou hadst lived longer thou wouldst

1 Vide Poc. Spec., ibid., p. 224.

2 Vide eund. ibid.


have been a wicked person, and therefore cast into hell." "Then," retorted al Asharf, "the second will say, O LORD, why didst thou not take me away while I was an infant, as thou didst my brother, that I might not have deserved to be punished for my sins nor to be cast into hell?" To which al Jobbai could return no other answer than that GOD prolonged his life to give him an opportunity of obtaining the highest degree of perfection, which was best for him; but al Ashari demanding further why he did not for the same reason grant the other a longer life, to whom it would have been equally advantageous, al Jobbai was so put to it, that he asked whether the devil possessed him. "No," says al Ashari, "but the master's ass will not pass the bridge;"1 i.e., he is posed.

Opinions regarding the attributes of God.

The opinions of the Asharians were: I. That they allowed the attributes of GOD to be distinct from his essence, yet so as to forbid any comparison to be made between God and his creatures.2 This was also the opinion of Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, and David al Ispahani, and others, who herein followed Malik Ibn Ans, and were so cautious of any assimilation of GOD to created beings, that they declared whoever moved his hand while he read these words, "I have created with my hand," or stretched forth his finger in repeating this saying of Muhammad, "The heart of the believer is between two fingers of the Merciful," ought to have his hand and finger cut off;3 and the reasons they gave for not explaining any such words were, that it is forbidden in the Quran, and that such explications were necessarily founded on conjecture and opinion, from which no man ought to speak of the attributes of GOD, because the words of the Quran might by that means come to be understood differently from the author's meaning: nay, some have been so superstitiously scrupulous in this matter as not to allow the words hand,

1 Auctor al Mawakif, et al Safadi, apud Poc., ubi sup., p. 230 &c. Ibn Khallikan in Vita al Jobbai.

2 Al Shahrist., apud Poc. Spec., p. 230.

3 Idem, apud eund., p. 228, &C.


face, and the like, when they occur in the Quran, to be rendered into Persian or any other language, but require them to be read in the very original words, and this they call the safe way.1 2. As to predestination, they held that GOD hath one eternal will, which is applied to whatsoever he willeth, both of his own actions and those of men, so far as they are created by him, but not as they are acquired or gained by them; that he willeth both their good and their evil, their profit and their hurt, and as he willeth and knoweth, he willeth concerning men that which he knoweth, and hath commanded the pen to write the same in the Preserved Table; and this is his decree, and eternal immutable counsel and purpose.2 They also went so far as to say that it may be agreeable to the way of GOD that man should be commanded what he is not able to perform.3 But while they allow man some power, they seem to restrain it to such a power as cannot produce anything new; only GOD, say they, so orders his providence that he creates, after or under, and together with every created or new power, an action which is ready whenever a man wills it and sets about it; and this action is called Casb, ie Acquisition, being in respect to its creation, from GOD, but in respect to its being produced, employed, and acquired, from man.4 And this being generally esteemed the orthodox opinion, it may not be improper farther to explain the same in the words of some other writers. The elective actions of men, says one, fall under the power of GOD alone; nor is their own power effectual thereto, but GOD causeth to exist in man power and choice; and if there be no impediment, he causeth his action to exist also, subject to his power, and joined with that and his choice; which action, as created, is to be ascribed to GOD, but as produced, employed, or acquired, to man. So that by the acquisition of an action is properly meant a man's

1 Vide Poc. Spec., ibid.

2 Al Shahrist., apud Poc. Spec., p. 245, &C.

3 Idem, ibid., p. 246.

4 Al Shahrist., apud eund. p. 245, &C.


joining or connecting the same with his power and will, yet allowing herein no impression or influence on the existence thereof, save only that it is subject to his power.1 Others, however, who are also on the side of al Asharf, and reputed orthodox, explain the matter in a different manner, and grant the impression or influence of the created power of man on his action, and that this power is what is called Acquisition.2 But the point will be still clearer if we hear a third author, who rehearses the various opinions, or explications of the opinion of this sect, in the following words, viz. : - Abu'l Hasan al Ashari asserts all the actions of men to be subject to the power of GOD, being created by him and that the power of man hath no influence at all on that which he is empowered to do, but that both the power and what is subject thereto fall under the power of GOD. Al Qa'dhi Abu Baqr says that the essence or substance of the action is the effect of the power of GOD, but its being either an action of obedience, as prayer, or an action of disobedience, as fornication, are qualities of the action, which proceed from the power of man. Abdal Malik, known by the title of Imam al Haramain, Abu'l Husain of Basra and other learned men, held that the actions of men are effected by the power which GOD hath created in man, and that GOD causeth to exist in man both power and will, and that this power and will do necessarily produce that which man is empowered to do; and Abu Ishaq al Isfarayain taught that that which maketh impression or hath influence on an action is a compound of the power of GOD and the power of man.3 The same author observes that their ancestors, perceiving a manifest difference between those things which are the effects of the election of man and those things which are the necessary effects of inanimate agents, destitute both of knowledge and choice, and being at the same time

1 Auctor Sharh al Mawakif, apud eund., p. 247.

2 Al Shahrist., ibid., p. 248.

3 Auctor Sharh al Tawaliya, apud eund. ibid., p. 248, &C.


pressed by the arguments which prove that GOD is the Creator of all things, and consequently of those things which are done by men, to conciliate the matter, chose the middle way, asserting actions to proceed from the power of GOD and the acquisition of man; GOD's way of dealing with his servants being, that when man intendeth obedience, GOD createth in him an action of obedience; and when he intendeth disobedience, he createth in him an action of disobedience; so that man seemeth to be the effective producer of his action, though he really be not.1 But this, proceeds the same writer, is again pressed with its difficulties, because the very intention of the mind is the work of GOD, so that no man hath any share in the production of his own actions; for which reason the ancients disapproved of too nice an inquiry into this point, the end of the dispute concerning the same being, for the most part, either the taking away of all precepts, positive as well as negative, or else the associating of a companion with GOD, by introducing some other independent agent besides him. Those, therefore, who would speak more accurately, use this form: There is neither compulsion nor free liberty, but the way lies between the two; the power and will in man being both created by GOD, though the merit or guilt be imputed unto man. Yet, after all, it is judged the safest way to follow the steps of the primitive Muslims, and, avoiding subtle disputations and too curious inquiries, to leave the knowledge of this matter wholly unto GOD.2 3. As to mortal sin, the

1 Auctor Sharh al Tawaliya, ibid., pp. 249, 250.

2 Idem, ibid., pp. 250,251. I trust the reader will not be offended if, as a further illustration of what has been said on this subject (in producing of which I have purposely kept to the original Muhammadan expressions) I transcribe a passage or two from a postscript subjoined to the epistle I have quoted above (ž 4, p. 85), in which the point of free will is treated ex professo. Therein the Moorish author, having mentioned the two opposite opinions of the Qadarians, who allow free will, and the Jabarians, who make man a necessary agent (the former of which opinions, he says, seems to approach nearest to that of the greater part of Christians and of the Jews), declares the true opinion to be that of the Sunnis, who assert that man hath power and will


Their views of sin.

Asharians taught, that if a believer guilty of such sin die without repentance, his sentence is to be left with GOD, whether he pardon him out of mercy, or whether the prophet intercede for him (according to that saying recorded of him, "My intercession shall be employed for those among my people who shall have been guilty of grievous crimes") or whether he punish him in proportion to his demerit, and afterwards, through his mercy, admit him into paradise; but that it is not to be supposed he

to choose good and evil and can moreover know he shall be rewarded if he do well, and shall be punished if he do ill; but that he depends, notwithstanding, on GOD'S power, and willeth, if GOD willeth, but not otherwise. Then he proceeds briefly to refute the two extreme opinions, and first to prove that of the Qadarians, though it be agreeable to justice, inconsistent with his attributes of wisdom and power: Sapientia enim Dei, says he, "comprehendit quicquid fuit et futurum est ab Šternitate in finem usque mundi et postea. Et ita novit ab Šterno omnia creaturarum, sive bona, sive mala, quae fuerint creata cum potentia Dei, et ejus libera et determinata voluntate, sicut ipsi visum fuit. Denique novit eum qui futurus erat malus, et tamen creavit eum, et similiter bonum, quem etiam creavit: neque negari potest quin, si ipsi libuisset, potuisset omnes creare bonos: placuit tamen Deo creare bonos et malos, c¨m Deo soli sit absolute et libera voluntas, et perfecta electio, et non homini. Ita enim Salomom in suis proverbiis dixit, Vitam et mortem, bonum et malum, divitias et paupertatem, esse et venire Ó Deo. Christiani etaim dicunt S. Paulum dixisse in suis epistolis; Dicet etaim luteum figulo, quare facis unum vas ad honerem, et aloud vas ad contumeliam? Cum igitur miser homo fuerit creatus Ó voluntate Die et ptentia, nihil aloud potest tribui ipsi quÓm ipse sensus cognoscenti et sentiendi an bene vel male facial. QuŠ unica casua (id est, senus cognoscenti) erit ejus gloriŠ vel poenŠ causa: per talem enim sensum novit quid vel mali adversus Dei prŠcepta fecerit."
The opinion of the Jabarians, on the other hand, he rejects as contrary to man's consciousness of his own power and choice, and inconsistent with GOD'S justice, and his GOD's having given mankind laws, to the observing or transgressing of which he has annexed rewards and punishments. After this he proceeds to explain the third opinion in the following words: "Tertia opinio Zunis (i.e., Sonnitarum) quŠ vera est, affirmat homini potestatem esse, sed limitatem Ó sua causa, id est, dependentem Ó Dei potentia et voluntate, et propter illam cognitionem qua deliberat benŔ vel malŔ facere, esse dignum poena vel prŠmio. Manifestum est in Šternitate non fuisse aliam potentiam prŠter Dei nostri omnipotentis, e cujus potentia pendebant omnia possibilia, id est, quŠ poterant esse, cum ab ipso fuerint creata. Sapientia ver˛ Dei novit etiam quŠ non sunt futura: et potentia ejus, etsi non creaverit ea, potuit tamen, si ita Deo placuisset. Ita novit sapientia Dei quŠ erant impossibilia, id est, quŠ non poterant esse; quŠ tamen nullo pacto pendent ab ejus potentia; ab ejus enim potentia nulla pendent nisi possibili. Dicimus enim Ó Dei potentia voluntate Dei et potentia, nihil aliud non pendere creare Deum alium ipsi similem, nec creare aliquid quod moveatur et quiescat simul eodem


will remain for ever in hell with the infidels, seeing it is declared that whoever shall have faith in his heart but of the weight of an ant, shall be delivered from hell-fire.1 And this is generally received for the orthodox doctrine in this point, and is diametrically opposite to that of the Mutazilites.

These were the more rational Sifatians, but the ignorant part of them, not knowing how otherwise to explain the expressions of the Quran relating to the declarative attributes, fell into most gross and absurd opinions, making GOD corporeal and like created beings.2 Such were -

The Mushabbihites.

2. The Mushabbihites, or Assimilators, who allowed a resemblance between GOD and his creatures,3 supposing

tempore, c¨m hŠc sint ex impossibilibus: comprehendit tamen suÔ sapientiÔ tale aliquid non pendere ab ejus potentiÔ.-A potentiÔ igitur Die pendent sol¨m quod potest esse, et possible est esse; quŠ semper parata est dare esse possibilibus. Et si hoc penitus cognoscamus, cognoscemus pariter omne quod est, seu futurum est, sive sint opera nostra, sive quidvis aloud, pendere Ó sola potential Dei. Et hoc non privatim intelligitur, sed in genere de omni eo quod est et movetur, sive in coelis sive in terrÔ; et nec aliquÔ potentiÔ potest imprediri Dei potential c¨m nulla alia potentia absolute sit prater Dei; potential ver˛ nostra non est Ó se, nisi Ó Dei potential: et cum potential nostra dicitur esse a causa sua, ideo dicimus potential nostram esse straminis comparatam cum ponteria Dei: eo enim modo quo stamen movetur Ó motu maris, ita nostra potential et voluntas Ó Die potential. Itaque Dei potential empire est parata etiam ad occidendum aliquem; ut si quis hominem occidat, non dicimus potentiÔ hominis id factum, sed Šterna potential Dei: error enim est id tribuere potentiŠ hominis. Potentia enim Dei, c¨m semper sit parata, et ante ipsum hominem, as occidendum; si solÔ hominis potentiÔ id factum esse diceremus, et moreretur, potentia sanŔ Dei (quŠ antŔ erat) jam ibi esset frustra: quia post mortem non potest potentia Dei eum iterum occidere; ex quo sequeretur potentiam Dei impediri Ó potentia hominis et potentiam hominis antecellere potentiam Dei: quod est absurdum et impossibile. Igitur Deus est qui operatur ŠternÔ suÔ potentiÔ: si ver˛ homini injiciatur culpa, sive in tali homicidio, sive in aliis hoc est quant¨m ad prŠcepta et legem. Homini tribuitur sol¨m opus externŔ et ejus electio, quŠ est a voluntate ejus et potentia; non ver˛ internŔ. - Hoc est punctum illud indivisibile et secretum, quod Ó paucissimis capitur, ut sapientissimus Sidi Abo Hamet Elgaceli (i.e., Dominus Abu Hamed al Ghazali) affirmat (cujus spiritni Deus concedat gloriam, Amen!) sequentibus verbis: Ita abditum et profundum et abstrusum est intelligere punctum illud Liberi Arbitrii, ut neque characteres ad scribendum, neque ullŠ rationes ad experimendum sufficiant, et omnes, quotquot de hac re locuti sunt, hŠserunt confusi in ripa tanti et tam spaciosi maris."

1 Al Shahrist.,apud Poc., p. 258.

2 Vide Poc., Ibid., p. 255, &c.; Abulfar., p. 167, &C.

3 Al Mawakif, apud Poc., ibid.


him to be a figure composed of members or parts, either spiritual or corporeal, and capable of local motion, of ascent and descent, &c.1 Some of this sect inclined to the opinion of the Hululians, who believed that the divine nature might be united with the human in the same person; for they granted it possible that GOD might appear in a human form, as Gabriel did; and to confirm their opinion they allege Muhammad's words, that he saw his LORD in a most beautiful form, and Moses talking with GOD face to face.2 And

The Karamians or Mujassamians.

3. The Karamians, or followers of Muhammad Ibn Karam, called also Mujassamians, or Corporalists, who not only admitted a resemblance between GOD and created beings, but declared GOD to be corporeal.3 The more sober among them, indeed, when they applied the word "body" to GOD, would be understood to mean that he is a self-subsisting being, which with them is the definition of body; but yet some of them affirmed him to be finite, and circumscribed, either on all sides, or on some only (as beneath, for example), according to different opinions;4 and others allowed that he might be felt by the hand and seen by the eye. Nay, one David al Jawari went so far as to say that his deity was a body composed of flesh and blood, and that he had members, as hands, feet, a head, a tongue, eyes, and ears; but that he was a body, however, not like other bodies, neither was he like to any created being: he is also said further to have affirmed that from the crown of the head to the breast he was hollow, and from the breast downward solid, and that he had black curled hair.5 These most blasphemous and monstrous notions were the consequence of the literal acceptation of those passages in the Quran which figuratively attribute corporeal actions to GOD, and of the words of Muhammad when he said

1 Al Shahrist., apud euni, ibid., p. 226.

2 Vide Marracc., Prodr., part 3, p. 76.

3 Al Shahrist., ubi sup.

4 Idem, ibid., p. 225.

5 Idem, ibid., pp. 226, 227.


that GOD created man in his own image, and that him self had felt the fingers of GOD, which he laid on his back, to be cold. Besides which, this sect are charged with fathering on their prophet a great number of spurious and forged traditions to support their opinion, the greater part whereof they borrowed from the Jews, who are accused as naturally prone to assimilate GOD to men, so that they describe him as weeping for Noah's flood till his eyes were sore.1 And, indeed, though we grant the Jews may have imposed on Muhammad and his followers in many instances, and told them as solemn truths things which themselves believed not or had invented, yet many expressions of this kind are to be found in their writings; as when they introduce GOD roaring like a lion at every watch of the night, and crying, "Alas! that I have laid waste my house, and suffered my temple to be burnt, and sent my children into banishment among the heathen," &c.2

The Jabarians and their various denominations.

4. The Jabarians, who are the direct opponents of the Qadarians, denying free agency in men, and ascribing his actions wholly unto GOD.3 They take their denomination from al jabr, which signifies necessity or compulsion; because they hold man to be necessarily and inevitably constrained to act as he does by force of GOD'S eternal and immutable decree.4 This sect is distinguished into several species, some being more rigid and extreme in their opinion, who are thence called pure Jabarians, and others more moderate, who are therefore called middle Jabarians. The former will not allow men to be said either to act or to have any power at all, either operative, or acquiring, asserting that man can do nothing, but produces all his actions by, necessity, having neither power, nor will, nor choice, any more than an inanimate agent; they also declare that rewarding and punishing are also the effects of necessity; and the same they say of the imposing of

1 Al Shahrist., ibid., pp. 227, 228.

2 Talm. Berachoth, c. i. Vide Poc. ubi sup., p. 228.

3 Vide Abulfarag, p. 168.

4 Al Shahrist., al Mawakif, et Ibn al Kussa apud Poc., Ibid., p. 238, &c.


commands. This was the doctrine of the Jahmians, the followers of Jahm Ibn Safwan, who likewise had that paradise and hell will vanish or be annihilated after those who are destined thereto respectively shall have entered them, so that at last there will remain no existing being besides GOD;1 supposing those words of the Quran which declare that the inhabitants of paradise and of hell shall remain therein for ever to be hyperbolical only, and intended for corroboration, and not to denote an eternal duration in reality.2 The moderate Jabarians are those who ascribe some power to man, but such a power as hath no influence on the action; for as to those who grant the power of man to have a certain influence on the action, which influence is called Acquisition, some 3 will not admit them to be called Jabarians, though others reckon those also to be called middle Jabarians, and to contend for the middle opinion between absolute necessity and absolute liberty, who attribute to man Acquisition or concurrence in producing the action, whereby he gaineth commendation or blame (yet without admitting it to have any influence on the action), and therefore make the Asharians a branch of this sect.4 Having again mentioned the term Acquisition, we may perhaps have a clearer idea of what the Muhammadans mean thereby when told that it is defined to be an action directed to the obtaining of profit or the removing of hurt, and for that reason never applied to any action of GOD, who acquireth to himself neither profit nor hurt.5 Of the middle or moderate Jabarians were the Najarians and the Dirarians. The Najarians were the adherents of al Hasan Ibn Muhammad al Najar, who taught that GOD was he who created the actions of men, both good and bad, and that man acquired them, and also that man's power had an influence on the action, or a

1 Al Shahrist., al Mutasizzi et Ibn al Kussa, apud eund., pp. 239, 243, &c.

2 Idem, ibid. p. 260.

3 Al Shahrist.

4 Ibn al Kusad et al Mawakif.

5 Ibn al Kussa, apud Poc., ubi sup., p. 240.


certain co-operation, which he called Acquisition and herein he agreed with al Ashari.1 The Dirarians were the disciples of Dirar Ibri Amru, who held also that men's actions are really created by GOD, and that man really acquired them.2 The Jabarians also say that GOD is absolute Lord of his creatures, and may deal with them according to his own pleasure, without rendering account to any, and that if he should admit all men without distinction into paradise, it would be no impartiality, or if he should cast them all into hell, it would be no injustice.3 And in this particular likewise they agree with the Asharians, who assert the same,4 and say that reward is a favour from GOD, and punishment a piece of justice; obedience being by them considered as a sign only of future reward, and transgression as a sign of future punishment.5

The Murjians.

5. The Murjians, who are said to be derived from the Jabarians.6 These teach that the judgment of every true believer, who hath been guilty of a grievous sin, will be deferred till the resurrection; for which reason they pass no sentence on him in this world, either of absolution or condemnation. They also hold that disobedience with

1 Al Shahrist., apud eund., p. 245.

2 Idem, ibid.

3 Abulfarag, p. 168, &C.

4 Al Shahristani, ubi sup., p. 252, &C.

5 Sharh al Tawaliya, ibid. To the same effect writes the Moorish author quoted above, from whom I will venture to transcribe the following passage, with which he concludes his Discourse on Freewill :-" Intellectus ferŔ lumine naturali novit Deum esse rectum judice et justum, qui no aliter afficit creaturam quÓm juste: etaim Deum esse absolutum Dominum, et hanc orbis machinam esse ejus, et ab eo creatam; Deum nullis debere rationed redder, c¨m quicxuid agat, agat jure proprio sibi: et its absolute poterit afficere prŠmio vel poena quem vult, c¨m omnis creature sit ejus, nec facit cuiquam injuriam, etsi eam tormetis et poenis Šternis afficiat: plus enim boni et commode accepit esse a suo creatore, quÓm incommode et damni quango ab eo damnata est et affecta tormentis et poenis. Hoc autem intelligiture si Deus absolute id faceret. Quando enim Deus, pietate et misericordia motus, elicit aliqous ut ipsi serviant, Dominus Deus gratiÔ suÔ id facit ex infinitÔ bonitate; et quando aliquos derelinquit, et poenis et tormentis afficit, ex justitia et rectitudine. Et tandem dicimus omnes poenas esse justas quŠ a Deo veniunt et nostrÔ tant¨m culpa, et omnia bona esse Ó pietate er misericordia ejus intinita."

6 Al Shahrist., ubi sup., p. 256.


faith hurteth not, and that, on the other hand, obedience with infidelity profiteth not.1 As to the reason of their name the learned differ, because of the different significations of its root, each of which they accommodate to some opinion of the sect. Some think them so called because they postpone works to intention, that is, esteem works to be inferior in degree to intention and profession of the faith 2 others because they allow hope, by asserting that disobedience with faith hurteth not, &c.; others take the reason of the name to be their deferring the sentence of the heinous sinner till the resurrection;3 and others their degrading of Ali, or removing him from the first degree to the fourth;4 for the Murjians, in some points relating to the office of Imam, agree with the Kharijites. This sect is divided into four species, three of which according as they happen to agree in particular dogmas with the Kharijites, the Qadarians, or the Jabarians, are distinguished as Murjians of those sects, and the fourth is that of the pure Murjians, which last species is again subdivided into five others.5 The opinions of Muqatil and Bashar, both of a sect of the Murjians called Thaubanians, should not be omitted. The former asserted that disobedience hurts not him who professes the unity of GOD and is endued with faith, and that no true believer shall be cast into hell. He also taught that GOD will surely forgive all crimes besides infidelity, and that a disobedient believer will be punished at the day of resurrection on the bridge 6 laid over the midst of hell, where the flames of hell-fire shall catch hold on him, and torment him in proportion to his disobedience, and that he shall then be admitted into paradise.7 The latter held that if GOD do cast the believers guilty of grievous sins into hell, yet they will be delivered thence after they shall have been sufficiently punished; but that

1 Abulfarag, p. 169.

2 Al Firaus.

3 Ibn al Athir, al Mutarrizi.

4 Al Shahrist., ubi sup., p. 254, &c.

5 Idem, Ibid.

6 See supra, Sect. IV., p. 147.

7 Al Shahrist., ubi sup., p. 257.


it is neither possible nor consistent with justice that they should remain therein for ever; which, as has been observed, was the opinion of al Ashari.

The Kharijites.

III The Kharijites are they who depart or revolt from the lawful prince established by public consent; and from thence comes their name, which signifies revolters rebels.1 The first who were so called were twelve thousand men who revolted from Ali, after they had fought under him at the battle of Saffain, taking offence at his submitting the decision of his right to the Khalifat, which Muawiyah disputed with him, to arbitration, though they themselves had first obliged him to it.2 These were also called Muhaqqimites, or Judiciarians, because the reason which they gave for their revolt was that Ali had referred a matter concerning the religion of GOD to the judgment of men, whereas the judgment, in such case, belonged only unto GOD.3 The heresy of the Kharijites consisted chiefly in two things: - I. In that they affirmed a man might be promoted to the dignity of Imam or prince though he was not of the tribe of Quraish, or even a freeman, provided he was a just and pious person, and endued with the other requisite qualifications; and also held that if the Imam turned aside from the truth, he might be put to death or deposed; and that there was no absolute-necessity for any Imam at all in the world. 2. In that they charged Ali with sin, for having left an affair to the judgment of men which ought to have been determined by GOD alone; and went so far as to declare him guilty of infidelity, and to curse him on that account.4 In the 38th year of the Hijra, which was the year following the revolt, all these Kharijites who persisted in their rebellion, to the number of four thousand, were cut to pieces by Ali, and, as several historians 5 write, even to a

1 Al Shahrist., ubi sup., p. 261.

2 See Ockley's Hist. of the Saracens, vol. i. p. 60, &C.

3 Al Shahrist., ubi sup., p. 270.

4 Idem, Ibid.

5 Abulfeda, al Jannabi, Elmacinus, p. 40.


man; but others say nine of them escaped, and that two fled into Oman, two into Karman, two into Sajistan, two into Mesopotamia, and one to Tel Mawrun, and that these propagated their heresy in those places, the same remaining there to this day.1 The principal sects of the Kharijites, besides the Muhaqqimites above mentioned are six, which, though they greatly differ among themselves in other matters, yet agree in these, viz., that they absolutely reject Othman and Ali, preferring the doing of this to the greatest obedience, and allowing marriages to be contracted on no other terms; that they account those who are guilty of grievous sins to be infidels; and that they hold it necessary to resist the Imam when he transgresses the law. One sect of them deserves more particular notice, viz.-

Peculiar views of the Waidians.

The Waidians, so called from al Waid, which signifies the threats denounced by GOD against the wicked. These are the antagonists of the Murjians, and assert that he who is guilty of a grievous sin ought to be declared an infidel or apostate, and will be eternally punished in hell, though he were a true believer;2 which opinion of theirs, as has been observed, occasioned the first rise of the Mutazilites. One Jaafar Jbn Mubashshar of the sect of the Nudhamians, was yet more severe than the Waidians, pronouncing him to be a reprobate and an apostate who steals but a grain of corn.3

The Shiahs and their distinguishing doctrines.

IV. The Shiahs are the opponents of the Kharijites: their name properly signifies sectaries or adherents in general, but is peculiarly used to denote those of Ali Ibn Talib, who maintain him to be lawful Khalifah and Imam, and that the supreme authority, both in spirituals and temporals, of right belongs to his descendants, notwithstanding they may be deprived of it by the injustice of others or their own fear. They also teach that the office

1 Al Shahristani. See Ockley's Hist of the Saracens, ubi sup., p. 63.

2 Abulfar., p. 169; Al Shahrist., apud Poc. Spec., p. 256.

3 Vide Poc., ibid., p. 257.


of Imam is not a common thing, depending on the will of the vulgar, so that they may set up whom they please, but a fundamental affair of religion, and an article which the prophet could not have neglected or left to the fancy of the common people:1 nay, some, thence called Imamians, go so far as to assert that religion consists solely in the knowledge of the true Imam.2 The principal sects of the Shiahs are five, which are subdivided into an almost innumerable number, so that some understand Muhammad's prophecy of the seventy odd sects of the Shiahs only. Their general opinions are - I. That the peculiar desitination of the Imam, and the testimonies of the Quran and Muhammad concerning him, are necessary points. 2. That the Imams ought necessarily to keep themselves free from light sins as well as more grievous.3 That every one ought publicly to declare who it is that he adheres to, and from whom he separates himself, by word, deed, and engagement; and that herein there should be no dissimulation. But in this last point some of the Zaidians, a sect so named from Zaid, the son of Ali surnamed Zain al Abidin, and great-grandson of Ali, dissented from the rest of the Shiahs.3 As to ,other articles wherein they agreed not, some of them came pretty near to the notions of the Mutazilites, others to those of the Mushabbihites, and others to those of the Sunnis.4 Among the Platter of these, Muhammad al Bakir, another son of Zain al Abidin's, seems to claim a place; for his opinion as to the will of GOD was that GOD willeth something in us and something from us, and that what he willeth from us he hath revealed to us; for which reason he thought it preposterous that we should employ our thoughts about those things which God willet in us, and neglect those which he willeth from us: and as to GOD'S decree, he held that the way lay in the middle,

1 Al Shahrist.,Ibid., p. 161; Abulfarag, p. 169.

2 Al Shahrist., Ibid., p. 262.

3 Idem, ibid. Vide D'Herbel, Bibl. Orient., art. Schiah.

4 Vide Poc., ibid.


and that there was neither compulsion nor free liberty.1 A tenet of the Khattabians, or disciples of one Abu'l Khattab, is too peculiar to be omitted. These maintained paradise to be no other than the pleasures of this world, and hell-fire to be the pains thereof, and that the world will never decay: which proposition being first laid down, it is no wonder they went further, and declared it lawful to indulge themselves in drinking wine and whoring, and to do other things forbidden by the law, and also to omit doing the things commanded by the law.2

Their veneration of Ali and his descendants

Many of the Shiahs carried their veneration for Ali and his descendants so far that they transgressed all bounds of reason and decency, though some of them were less extravagant than others. The Ghulaites, who had their name from their excessive zeal for their Imams, were so highly transported therewith that they raised them above the degree of created beings, and attributed divine properties to them; transgressing on either hand, by deifying of mortal men, and by making GOD corporeal; for one while they liken one of their Imams to GOD, and another while they liken GOD to a creature.3 The sects of these are various and have various appellations in different countries. Abdallah Ibn Saba (who had been a Jew, and had asserted the same thing of Joshua the son of Nun) was the ringleader of one of them. This man gave the following salutation to Ali, viz., "Thou art Thou," i.e., thou art GOD: and hereupon the Ghulaites became divided into several species, some maintaining the same thing, or something like it, of Ali, and others of some of one of his descendants, affirming that he was not dead, but would return again in the clouds and fill the earth with justice. But how much soever they disagreed in other things, they unanimously held a metempsychosis, and what they call al Hulul,4 or the descent of GOD on his creatures, meaning

1 Al Shahrist, ibid., p. 263.

2 Idem, et Ibn al Kussa, ibid., p. 260, &c.

3 Idem, Ibid.

4 Idem, ibid., p. 264. Vide Marrac., Prodr., part 3, p. 80, &c.


thereby that GOD is present in every place, and speaks with every tongue, and appears in some individual person;1 and hence some of them asserted their Imams to be prophets, and at length gods.2 The Nusairians and the Ishaqians taught that spiritual substances appear in grosser bodies, and that the angels and the devil have appeared in this manner. They also assert that GOD hath appeared in the form of certain men; and since, after Muhammad, there hath been no man more excellent than Ali, and, after him, his sons have excelled all other men, that GOD hath appeared in their form, spoken with their tongue, and made use of their hands; for which reason, say they, we attribute divinity to them.3 *, And to support these blasphemies they tell several miraculous things of Ali, as his moving the gates of Khaibar,4 which they urge as a plain proof that he was endued with a particle of divinity and with sovereign power, and that he was the person in whose form GOD appeared, with whose hands he created all things, and with whose tongue he published his commands; and therefore they say he :was in being before the creation of heaven and earth.5 In so impious a manner do they seem to wrest those things which are said in Scripture of CHRIST by applying them to Ali. These extravagant fancies of the Shiahs, however, in making their Imams partakers of the divine nature, and the impiety of some of those Imams in laying claim thereto, are so far from being peculiar to this sect, that

* Talboys Wheeler, in his History of India, vol. iv. part i. p. 86, attributes these notions to all Shiahs. He says, "They believe in God as the Supreme Spirit; in Muhammad and his family as emanations from the Supreme Spirit." This statement is too sweeping; the views here attributed to all belong to the Sufi portion of the sect. E.M.W.

1 Al Shahristani, Ibid., p. 265.

2 Vide D'Herbel., Bibl. Orient., art. Hakem Beamrillah.

3 Idem, ibid., Abulfar., p. 169.

4 See Prid., Life of Mah., p. 93.

5 Al Shahrist., ubi sup., p. 266.


most of the other Muhammadan sects are tainted with the same madness, there being many found among them, and among the and among the Sufis especially, who pretend to be nearly related to heaven, and who boast of strange revelations before the credulous people.1 It may not be amiss to hear what al Ghazali has written on this occasion. "Matters are come to that pass," says he "that some boast of an union with GOD, and of discoursing familiarly with him, without the interposition of a veil, saying, 'It hath been thus said to us,' and 'We have thus spoken;' affecting to imitate Husain al Halldj, who was put to death for some words of this kind uttered by him, he havihg said (as was proved by credible witnesses), 'I am the Truth,'1 or Abu Yazid al Bastami, of whom it is related that he often used the expression, 'Subhani,' i.e., 'Praise be unto me!3 But this way of talking is the cause of great mischief among the common people, insomuch that husbandmen, neglecting the tillage of their land, have pretended to the like privileges nature being tickled with discourses of this kind, which furnish men with an excuse for leaving their occupations under pretense of purifying their souls, and attaining I know not what degrees and conditions. Nor is there anything to hinder the most stupid fellows from forming the like pretensions and catching at such vain expressions; for whenever what they say is denied to be true, they fail not to reply that our unbelief proceeds from learning and logic; affirming learning to be a veil, and logic the work of the mind; whereas what they tell us appears only within, being discovered by the light of truth. But this is that truth the sparks whereof have flown into several countries and occasioned great mischiefs; so that it is more for the advantage of GOD'S true religion to put to death one of those who utter such things than to bestow life on ten others."4

1 Poc. Spec., p. 267.

2 Vide D'Herbel., Bibl. Orient, art Hallage.

3 Vide ibid., art. Bastham.

4 Al Ghazali, apud Poc. Spec., ubi. sup.


Main points of difference between the Shiahs and the Sunnis.

Thus far have we treated of the chief sects among the Muhammadans of the first ages, omitting to say anything of the more modern sects, because the same are taken little or no notice of by their own writers, and would be of no use to our present design.1 It may be proper, however, to mention a word or two of the great schism at this day subsisting between the Sunnis and the Shiahs, or partisans of Ali, and maintained on either side with implacable hatred and furious zeal. Though the difference arose at first on a political occasion, it has, notwithstanding, been so well improved by additional circumstances and the spirit of contradiction, that each party detest and anathematise the other as abominable heretics, and farther from the truth than either the Christians or the Jews.2 The chief points wherein they differ are - I. That the Shiahs reject Abu Baqr, Omar, and Othman, the three first Khalifahs, as usurpers and intruders; whereas the Sunnis acknowledge and respect them as rightful Imams. 2. The Shiahs prefer Ali to Muhammad, or at least esteem them both equal, but the Sunnis admit neither Ali nor any of the prophets to be equal to Muhammad. 3. The Sunnis charge the Shiahs with corrupting the Quran and neglecting its precepts, and the Shiahs retort the same charge on the Sunnis. 4. The Sunnis receive the Sunnat, or book of traditions of their prophet, as of canonical authority, whereas the Shiahs reject it as apocryphal and unworthy of credit. And to these disputes, and some others of less moment, is principally owing the antipathy which has long reigned between the Turks, who are Sunnis, and the Persians, who are of the sect of Ali. It seems strange that Spinoza, had he known of no other schism among the Muhammadans, should yet never have heard of one so publicly notorious as this between the Turks and Persians; but it is plain he did not, or he would

1 The reader may meet with some account of them in Ricaut's State of the Ottoman Empire, I. 2, c. 12.

2 Vide ibid., c. 10, and Chardin, Voy. de Perse, t. 2, pp. 169, 170, &C.


never have assigned it as the reason of his preferring the order of the Muhammadan Church to that of the Roman, that there have arisen no schisms in the former since its birth.1

Muslim false prophets.

As success in any project seldom fails to draw in imitators Muhammad's having raised himself to such a degree of power and reputation by acting the prophet induced others to imagine they might arrive at the same height by the same means. His most considerable competitors in the prophetic office were Musailama and al Aswad, whom the Muhammadans usually call "the two liars"

Claim of Musailama to the prophetic office.

The former was of the tribe of Hunaifa, who inhabited the province of Yamama, and a principal man among them. He headed an embassy sent by his tribe to Muhammad in the ninth year of the Hijra, and professed himself a Muslim 2 but on his return home, considering that he might possibly share with Muhammad in his power, the next year he set up for a prophet also, pretending to be joined with him in the commission to recall mankind from idolatry to the worship of the true GOD;3 and he published written revelations in imitation of the Quran, of which Abulfaragius 4 has preserved the following passage, viz.: "Now hath GOD been gracious unto her that was with child, and hath brought forth from her the soul which runneth between the peritonaeum and the bowels." Musailama, having formed a considerable party among those of Hunaifa, began to think himself upon equal terms with Muhammad, and sent him a letter, offering to go halves with him,5 in these words: "From

1 The words of Spinoza are:- "Ordinem Romanss ecc1esiae-politicum et plurimus lucrosum esse fateor; nec ad decipiendam plebem, et hominum animos coercendum commodiorem isto crederem, ni ordo Mahumedanae ecc1esiaw esset, qui longe eundem antecellit. Nam a quo tempore haec superstitio incepit, nulla in eorum ecciesla schismata orta sunt." Opera Posth., p. 613.

2 Abulfed., p. 160.

3 Idem, Elmac., p. 9.

4 Hist. Dynast., p. 164.

5 Abulfed., ubi sup.


Musailama the apostle of GOD, to Muhammad the apostle of GOD. Now let the earth be half mine and half thine." But Muhammad, thinking himself too well established to need a partner, wrote him this answer: "From Muhammad the apostle of GOD, to Musailama the liar. The earth is GOD'S: he giveth the same for inheritance unto such of his servants as he pleaseth; and the happy issue shall attend those who fear him."1 During the few months which Muhammad lived after this revolt, Musailama rather gained than lost ground, and grew very formidable; but Abu Baqr, his successor, in the eleventh year of the Hijra, sent a great army against him, under the command of that consummate general, Khalid Ibn al Walid, who engaged Musailama in a bloody battle, wherein the false prophet, happening to be slain by Wahsha, the negro slave who had killed Hamza at Ohod, and by the same lance,2 the Muslims gained an entire victory, ten thousand of the apostates being left dead on the spot, and the rest returning to Muhammadism.3

Al Aswad the second of "the two liars."

Al Aswad, whose name was Aihala, was of the tribe of Ans, and governed that and the other tribes of Arabs descended from Madhhaj.4 This man was likewise an apostate from Muhammadism, and set up for himself the very year that Muhammad died.5 He was surnamed Dhu'l Hamar, or the master of the asses, because he used frequently to say, "The master of the asses is coming unto me;"6 and pretended to receive his revelations from two angels, named Suhaiq and Shuraiq.7 Having a good hand at legerdemain and a smooth tongue, he gained mightily on the multitude by the strange feats which he showed them and the eloquence of his discourse;8 by these means he greatly increased his power, and having

1 Al Baidhawi, in Quran, c. 5.

2 Abulfed., ubi sup.

3 Idem, ibid.; Abulfarag, p. 173; Elmac., p. 16, &C See Ockley's Hist. of the Saracens, vol. 1. p. 15, &c.

4 Al Suhalli, apud Gagnier, in not. ad Abulf. Vit. Moh., p. 158.

5 Elmac., p. 9.

6 Abulfeda, ubi sup.

7 Al Suhalli, ubi sup.

8 Abulfeda, ubi sup.


made himself master of Najran and the territory of al Tayif,1 on the death of Badhan, the governor of Yaman for Muhammad, he seized that province also killing Shahr, the son of Badhan, and taking to wife his widow, whose father, the uncle of Firuz the Dailamite, he had also slain.2 This news being brought to Muhammad, he sent to his friends and to those of Hamdan, a party of whom, conspiring with Qais Ibn Abd al Yaghuth, who bore al Aswad a grudge, and with Firuz and al Aswad's wife, broke by night into his house, where Firuz surprised him and cut off his head. While he was despatching he roared like a bull; at which his guards came to the chamber door, but were sent away by his wife, who told them the prophet was only agitated by the divine inspiration. This was done the very night before Muhammad died. The next morning the conspirators caused the following proclamation to be made, viz., "I bear witness that Muhammad is the apostle of GOD, and that Aihala is a liar;" and letters were immediately sent away to Muhammad, with an account of what had been done; but a messenger from heaven outstripped them, and acquainted the prophet with the news, which he imparted to his companions but a little before his death, the letters themselves not arriving till Abu Baqr was chosen Khalifah. It is said that Muhammad, on this occasion, told those who attended him that before the day of judgment thirty more impostors, besides Musailama and al Aswad, should appear, and every one of them set up for a prophet. The whole time, from the beginning of al Aswad's rebellion to his death, was about four months.3

In the same eleventh year of the Hijra, but after the death of Muhammad, as seems most probable, Tulaiha Ibn Khuwailid set up for a prophet, and Sajaj Bint al Mundar 4 for a prophetess.

1 Abulfeda et Elmacinus, ubi sup.

2 Idem, al Jannabi, ubi sup.

3 Idem, Ibid.

4 Ibu Sholmah and Elmacinus call her the daughter of al Harith.


Tulaiha and Sajaj.

Tulaiha was of the tribe of Asad, which adhered to him, together with great numbers of the tribes of Ghatfan and Tay. Against them likewise was Khalid sent, who engaged and put them to flight, obliging Tulaiha with his shattered troops to retire into Syria, where he stayed till the death of Abu Baqr; then he went to, Omar and embraced Muhammadism in his presence, and having taken the oath of fidelity to him, returned to his own country and people.1

Sajaj, surnamed Omm Sadir, was of the tribe of Tamim, and the wife of Abu Qahdala, a soothsayer of Yamama. She was followed not only by those of her own, tribe, but by several others. Thinking a prophet the most proper husband for her, she went to Musailama, and married him; but after she had stayed with him three days, she left him and returned home.2 What became of her afterwards I do not find. Ibn Shohnah has given us part of the conversation which passed at the interview between those two pretenders to inspiration, but the same is a little too immodest to be translated.

In succeeding ages several impostors from time to time started up, most of whom quickly came to nothing, but some made a considerable figure, and propagated sects which continued long after their decease. I shall give a brief account of the most remarkable of them in order of time.

Hakim Ib Hasham and his practices.

In the reign of al Mahdi, the third Khalifah of the race of al Abba's, one Hakim Ibn Hasham,3 originally of Meru in Khurasan, who had been an under-secretary to Abu Muslim, the governor of that province, and afterwards turned soldier, passed thence into Mawaralnahr, where he gave himself out for a prophet. He is generally named by the Arab writers al Mukanna, and sometimes al Burkai, that is, "the veiled," because he used to cover his face with

1 Elmacinus, p. 16; al Baldhawi, in Quran, c. 5.

2 Ibn Shohnah. Vide Elmacinus, p. 16.

3 Or Ibn Ata, according to Ibn Shohnah.


a veil or a gilded mask, to conceal his deformity, having lost an eye in the wars, and being otherwise of a despicable appearance; though his followers pretended he did it for the same reason as Moses did viz, lest the splendour of his countenance should dazzle the eyes of the beholders. He made a great many proselytes at Nakhshab and Kash, deluding the people with several juggling performances, which they swallowed for miracles, and particularly by causing the appearance of a moon to rise out of a well for many nights together; whence he was also called, in the Persian tongue, Sazindah-mah or the moonmaker. This impious impostor, not content with being reputed a prophet, arrogated divine honours to himself, pretending that the deity resided in his person; and the doctrine whereon he built this was the same with that of the Ghulaites above mentioned, who affirmed a transmigration or successive manifestation of the divinity through and in certain prophets and holy men, from Adam to these latter days (of which opinion was also Abu Muslim himself1); but the particular doctrine of al Mukanna was that the person in whom the deity had last. resided was the aforesaid Abu Muslim and that the same had since his death, passed into himself. The faction of al Mukanna, who had made himself master of several fortified places in the neighbourhood of the cities above mentioned, growing daily more and more powerful, the Khalifah was at length obliged to send an army to reduce him, at the approach whereof al Mukanna retired into one of his strongest fortresses, which he had well provided for a siege, and sent his emissaries abroad to persuade people that he raised the dead to life and knew future events. But being straitly besieged by the Khalifah's forces, when he found there was no possibility for him to escape, he gave poison in wine to his whole family, and all that were with him in the castle;

1 This explains a doubt of Mr. Bayle concerning a passage of Elmacinus, as translated by Erpenius and corrected by Bespier. Vide Bay1e, Dic. Hist., art, Abumuslimus, vers la fin, et Rem. B.


and when they were dead he burnt their bodies, together with their clothes, and all the provisions and cattle; and then, to prevent his own body being found, he threw himself into the flames, or, as others say, into a tub of aquafortis, or some other preparation, which consumed every part of him, except only his hair, so that when the besiegers entered the place they found no creature in it, save one of al Mukanna's concubines, who, suspecting his design, had hid herself, and discovered the whole matter. This contrivance, however, failed not to produce the effect which the impostor designed among the remaining part of his followers; for he had promised them that his soul should transmigrate into the form of a grey-headed man riding on a greyish beast, and that after so many years he would return to them, and give them the earth for their possession: the expectation of which promise kept the sect in being for several ages after under the name of Mubayyidites, or, as the Persians call them, Safaid jamahghian, i.e., the clothed in white, because they wore their garments of that colour, in opposition, as is supposed, to the Khalifahs of the family of Abba's, whose banners and habits were black. The historians place the death of al Mukanna in the 162d or 163d year of the Hijra.1

Babik and his cruelties

In the year of the Hijra 201, Babik, surnamed al Khurrami and Khurramdin, either because he was of a certain district near Ardaibil in Adhairbijan called Khurram, or because he instituted a merry religion, which is the signification of the word in Persian, began to take on him the, title of a prophet. I do not find what doctrine he taught, but it is said he professed none of the religions then known in Asia. He gained a great number of devotees in Adhairbijan and the Persian Iraq, and grew powerful enough to wage war with the Khalifah al Mamun, whose troops he

1 They were a sect in the days of Abulfaragius, who lived about five hundred years after this extraordinary event, and may, for aught I know, be so still.

2 Ex Abulfarag, Hist. Dyn., p. 226; Lobb al Tawarikh Ibn Shohnah, al Tabari, and Khondamir. Vide D'Herbel. Bibl. Orient., art. Hakim Ben Haschem.


often beat, killing several of his generals, and one of them with his own hand; and by these victories he became so formidable that al Mutasim the successor of al Mamun, was obliged to employ the forces of the whole empire against him. The general sent to reduce Babik was Afshid, who having overthrown him in battle, took his castles one after another with invincible patience, notwithstanding the rebels gave him great annoyance, and at last shut, up the impostor in his principal fortress; which being taken Babik found means to escape thence in disguise, with some of his family and principal followers; but taking refuge in the territories of the Greeks, was betrayed in the following manner. Sahel, an Armenian officer, happening to know Babik, enticed him, by offers of service and respect, into his power, and treated him as a mighty prince, till, when he sat down to eat, Sahel clapped himself down by him; at which Babik being surprised, asked him how he dared to take that liberty unasked? "It is true, great king," replied Sahel, "I have committed a fault; for who am I, that I should sit at your majesty's table?" And immediately sending for a smith, he made use of this bitter sarcasm, "Stretch forth your legs, great king, that this man may put fetters on them." After this Sahel sent him to Afshid, though he had offered a large sum for his liberty, having first served him in his own kind by causing his mother, sister, and wife to be ravished before his face; for so Babik used to treat his prisoners. Afshid having the arch-rebel in his power, conducted him to al Mutasim, by whose order he was put to an ignominious and cruel death. This man had maintained his ground against the power of the Khalifahs for twenty years, and had cruelly put to death above two hundred and fifty thousand people, it being his custom never to spare man, woman, or child, either of the Muhammadans or their allies.1 The sectaries of

1 Ex Abulfarag, p. 252, &C.; Elmacinus, p. 141, &c., and Khondamir. Vide D'Herbel., art. Babik.


Babik which remained after his death seem to have been entirely dispersed, there being little or no mention made of them by historians.

Mahmud Ibn Farqj.

About the year 235, one Mahmud Ibn Faraj pretended to be Moses resuscitated, and played his part so well that several people believed on him, and attended him when he was brought before the Khalifah al Mutawaqqil. That prince; having been an ear-witness of his extravagant discourses condemned him to receive ten buffets from every one of his followers, and then to be drubbed to death; which was accordingly executed; and his disciples were imprisoned till they came to their right minds.1

The Karmatians and their founder.

The Karmatians, a sect which bore an inveterate malice against the Muhammadans, began first to raise disturbances in the year of the Hijra 278, and the latter end of the reign of al Mutamid. Their origin is not well known, but the common tradition is that a poor fellow, whom some call Karmata, came from Khuzistan to the villages near Kufa, and there feigned great sanctity and strictness of life, and that GOD had enjoined him to pray fifty times a day, pretending also to invite people to the obedience of a certain Imam of the family of Muhammad; and this way of life he continued till he had made a very great party, out of whom he chose twelve, as his apostles, to govern the rest and to propagate his doctrines. But the governor of the province, finding men neglected their work, and their husbandry in particular, to say those fifty prayers a day, seized the fellow, and having put him into prison, swore that he should die; which being over-heard by a girl belonging to the governor, she, pitying the man, at night took the key of the dungeon from under her master's head as he slept, and having let the prisoner out, returned the key to the place whence she had it. The next morning the governor found the bird flown, and the accident being publicly known, raised great admira-

1 Ibn Shohnah. Vide D'Herbel., p. 537.


tion, his adherents giving it out that GOD bad taken him into heaven. Afterwards he appeared in another province, and declared to a great number of people he had got about him that it was not in the power of any to do him hurt; notwithstanding which, his courage failing him, he retired into Syria, and was not heard of any more.

Doctrines and practices.

His sect, however, continued and increased, pretending that their master had manifested himself to be a true prophet, and had left them a new law, wherein he had changed the ceremonies and form of prayer used by the Muslims, and introduced a new kind of fast, and that he had also allowed them to drink wine, and dispensed with several things commanded in the Quran. They also turned the precepts of that book into allegory, teaching that prayer was the symbol of obedience to their Imam and fasting that of silence, or concealing their dogmas from strangers: they also believed fornication to be the sin of infidelity, and the guilt thereof to be incurred by those who revealed the mysteries of their religion or paid not a blind obedience to their chief. They are said to have produced a book wherein was written (among other things), "In the name of the most merciful GOD. Al Faraj Ibn Othman of the town of Nasrana saith that Christ appeared unto him in a human form and said, 'Thou art the invitation: thou art the demonstration: thou art the camel: thou art the beast: thou art John the son of Zacharias: thou art the Holy Ghost.'"1 From the year above mentioned the Karmatians, under several leaders, gave almost continual disturbance to the Khalifahs and their Muhammadan subjects for several years, committing great disorders and outrages in Chaldea, Arabia, Syria, and Mesopotamia, and at length establishing a considerable principality, the power whereof was in its meridian in the reign of Abu Dhahir, famous for his taking of Makkah, and the indignities by him offered to the temple

1 Apud Abulfarag, p. 275.


there, but which declined soon after his time and came to nothing.1

The Ismailians.

To the Karmatians the Ismailians of Asia were very near of kin, if they were not a branch of them. For these, who were also called al Mulahidah, or the Impious, and by the writers of the history of the holy wars, Assassins, agreed with the former in many respects; such as their inveterate malice against those of other religions, and especially the Muhammadans, their unlimited obedience to their prince, at whose command they were ready for assassinations, or any other bloody and dangerous enterprise, their pretended attachment to a certain Imam of the house of Ali, &c. These Ismailians in the year 483 possessed themselves of al Jabal, in the Persian Iraq, under the conduct of Hasan Sabah, and that prince and his descendants enjoyed the same for a hundred and seventy-one years, till the whole race of them was destroyed by Holagu the Tartar.2

The Batimtes, which name is also given to the Ismailians by some authors, and likewise to the Karmatians,3 were a sect which, professed the same abominable principles, and were dispersed over several parts of the East.4 The word signifies Esoterics, or people of inward or hidden light or knowledge.

Abu'l Tayyab Ahmad's prophetical career.

Abu'l Tayyab Ahmad, surnamed al Mutanabbi, of the tribe of Joufa, is too famous on another account not to claim a place here. He was one of the most excellent poets among the Arabians, there being none besides Abu Tamam who can dispute the prize with him. His poetical inspiration was so warm and exalted that he either mistook it, or thought he could persuade others to believe it, to be prophetical, and therefore gave himself out to be

1 Ex Abulfar., ibid. Elmacin., p. 174, &c.; Ibn Shohnah, Khondamir. Vide D'Herbel., art. Carmath.

2 Abulfar., p. 505, &C ; D'Herbel., pp. 104, 437, 505, 620, and 784.

3 Vide Elmacin, pp. 174 and 286; D'Herbel., p. 194.

4 Vide Abulfar., pp. 361, 374, 380, 483.


a prophet indeed, and thence acquired his surname, by which he is generally known. His accomplishments were 'too great not to have some success' for several tribes of the Arabs of the deserts, particularly that of Qalab, acknowledged him to be what he pretended. But Lulu, governor in those parts for Akhshid king of Egypt and Syria, soon put a stop to the further progress of this new sect by imprisoning their prophet and obliging him to renounce his chimerical dignity; which having done, he regained his liberty, and applied himself solely to his poetry, by means whereof he got very considerable riches, being in high esteem at the courts of several princes. Al Mutanabbi lost his life, together with his son, on the bank of the Tigris, in defending the money which had been given him by Adad-ud-Daula, sultan of Persia, against some Arabian robbers who demanded it of him, with which money he was returning to Kufa, his native city. This accident happened in the year 354.1

Baba and his sect

The last pretender to prophecy I shall now take notice of is one who appeared in the city of Amasia, in Natolia, in the year 638, and by his wonderful feats seduced a great multitude of people there. He was by nation a Turkman, and called himself Baba and had a disciple called Isaac, whom he sent about to invite those of his own nation to join him. Isaac accordingly, coming to the territory of Sumaisat, published his commission, and prevailed on many to embrace his master's sect, especially among the Turkmans; so that at last he had six thousand horse at his heels, besides foot. With these Baba and his disciple made open war on all who would not cry out with them, "There is no GOD but GOD; Baba is the apostle of GOD;" and they put great numbers of Muhammadans as well as Christians to the sword in those parts, till at length both Muhammadans and Christians, joining together, gave them battle, and having entirly routed

1 PrŠf. in Opera Motanabbis MS. Vide D'Herbel., p. 638, &c.


them, put them all to the sword, except their two chiefs, who being taken alive, had their heads struck off by the executioner.1

I could mention several other impostors of the same kind which have arisen among the Muhammadans since their prophet's time, and very near enough to complete the number foretold by him; but I apprehend the reader is by this time tired as well as myself, and shall, therefore, here conclude this discourse, which may be thought already too long for an introduction.*

* The Wahhabis of Arabia and India have figured too prominently in history and still exercise too powerful an influence upon Islam to justify the omission of any mention of them in a work like this; accordingly we add the following account of this sect, taken by permission from Hughes' Notes on Muhammadanism, second edition:-

"This sect was founded by Muhammad, son of Abdul Wahhab, but as their opponents could not call them Muhammadans, they have been distinguished by the name of the father of the founder of their sect, and are called Wahhabis.

Shekh Muhammad was born at Ayina, a village in the province of Arad, in the country of Najd, in the year A.D. 1691. Having been carefully instructed in the tenets of the Muslim religion according to the teachings of the Hambali sect, he in due time left his native place, in company with his father to perform the pilgrimage to Mecca. At Madina he was instructed by Shekh Abdullah-ibn-Ibrahim of Najd, and it is supposed that whilst sitting at the feet of this celebrated teacher the son of Abdul Wahhab first realized how far the rigid lines of Islam had been stretched, almost to breaking, in the endeavour to adapt its stern principles to the superstitions of idolatrous Arabia. He accompanied his father to Harimala, and after his father's death he returned to his native village of Ayina, where he assumed the position of a religious teacher. His teaching met with acceptance, and he soon acquired so great an influence over the people of those parts that the Governor of Hassa compelled him to leave the district, and the reformer found a friendly asylum in Deraiah, under the protection of Muhammad-ibn-Saud, a chief of considerable influence, who made protection of Ibn Abdul-Wahhab a pretext for war with the Shekh of Hassa. Ibn

1 Abulfarag, p. 479; Ibn Shohnah; D'Herbel., art. Baba.


Saud married the daughter of Ibn-Abdul-Wahhab, and established in his family the Wahhabi dynasty, which, after a chequered existence of more than a hundred years, still exists in the person of the Wahhabi chief at Ryadh.1

The whole of Eastern Arabia has embraced the reformed doctrines of the Wahhabis, and Mr. Palgrave, in his account of his travels in those parts, has given an interesting sketch of the Wahhabi religionists, although he is not always correct as to the distinctive principles of their religious creed.

In the great Wahhabi revival, political interests were united with religious reform, as was the case in the great Puritan struggle in England, and the Wahhabis soon pushed their conquests over the whole of Arabia. In A.D. 1803 they conquered Mecca and Madina, and for many years threatened the subjugation of the whole Turkish Empire; but in A.D. 1811, Muhammad Ali, the celebrated Pasha of Egypt, commenced a war against the wahhabis; and soon recovered Mecca and Madina; and in 1818 his son, Ibrahim Pasha, totally defeated Abdullah, the Wahhabi leader, and sent him a prisoner to Constantinople, where he was executed in the public square of St. Sophia, December 19, 1818. But although the temporal power of the Wahhabis has been subdued, they still continue secretly to propagate their peculiar tenets, and in the present day there are numerous disciples of the sect, not only in Arabia but in Turkey and India. It is a movement which has influenced religious thought in every part of Islam.

After giving a brief account of the Wahhabi movement in India, under the leadership of Sayyid Ahmad who was slain in battle by the Sikh general Sher Singh at Balakot in 1831, our author describes the tenets of the Wahhabi faith as follows :-

1. They do not receive the decisions of the four orthodox sects, but say that any man who can read and understand the Quran and the sacred Hadis can judge for himself in matters of doctrine. They therefore reject Ijma2 after the death of the companions of the Prophet.

2. That no one but God can know the secrets of men, and that prayers should not be offered to any prophet, Wali, Pir, or Saint; but that God may be asked to grant a petition for the sake of a saint.

1 The following are the names of the Wahhabi chiefs from the establishment of the dynasty - Muhammad-ibn-Saud, died A.D. 1765; Abdul-Aziz, assassinated 1803; Saud-ibn-Abdul Aziz, died 1814; Abdullah-ibn-Saud, beheaded 1818; Turki, assassinated 1830 Fayzul, died 1866; Abdullah, still living.

2 By Ijma is meant "the unanimous consent of the learned doctors" - "the unanimous consent of the Fathers."


3. That at the last day Muhammad will obtain permission (izn) of God to intercede for his people. The Sunnis believe that permission has already been given.

4. That it is unlawful to illuminate the shrines of departed saints, or to prostrate before them, or to perambulate (tawaf) round them.

5. That women should not be allowed to visit the graves of the dead on account of their immoderate weeping.

6. That only four festivals ought to be observed, namely, 'Idul-Fitr, 'Id-ul-Azha, 'Ashuraa, and Shab-i-Barat.

7. They do not observe the ceremonies of Maulud, which are celebrated on the anniversary of Mubammad's birth.

8. They do not present offerings (nazr) at any shrine.

9. They count the ninety-nine names of God on their fingers, and not on a rosary.

10. They understand the terms 'sitting of God' and 'hand of God,' which occur in the Quran, in their literal (haqiqi) sense, and not figuratively (majazi); but, at the same time, they say it is not revealed how God sits, or in what sense he has a hand, &c.

From this description it therefore appears that Wahibbiism is Muslim Protestantism. It rejects everything contrary to the teaching of the Quran and the Hadis, or inspired sayings of Muhammad. It asserts the right of private judgment in the interpretation of Scripture. Yet how different from Christian Protestantism! This delivers man from the thraldom of a priestcraft born of the dark ages of Christianity, and sweeps away that accumulation of error which had hidden for centuries the light of that Gospel which guides the world to wisdom founded on the fear of God, to civilisation based on human freedom and brotherly love. But Wahhabiism, whilst reforming the religion of Islam, would sweep away the civilisation and learning which have been added to a narrow and imperfect faith, and carry the world back "to the dark age of the Arabian Prophet," and keep it there to the "end of time."


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