Page images

alarmed and struck down with fear, thinking her son had perished; but, upon entering the cave, she found him quite safe and well upon his fine linen cushions, and properly perfumed and anointed. When she saw this, she knew that he was reserved unto some great station, and that the Lord would exalt him. So she found him gently sucking his fingers, his forefinger, and his thumb; from one of which he was drinking milk, and from the other honey. He grew up as much in one day as another boy does in a month, and as much in a month as another boy in a year. He only stayed in the cave fifteen months.

One day, he said unto his mother, Who is my master? She replied, I am. And who is your master? Your Father. And who is my father's master? Nimrod. And who, then, is Nimrod's master? She replied, Be silent! and he was silent. She then returned, and said, I have seen a boy who declares that he will change the religion of the people of the land, but did not say he was her son. Then she informed his father of the matter, and of the place wherein he was. His father thereon came unto him, and beheld him, and was delighted with him. Upon saying to his father what he had before said unto his mother, Azar bade him be silent when he mentioned Nimrod's God; which he obeyed. One day he said unto

his mother, Take me from this cave! which she did, one evening. Coming out, he beheld and considered the creatures of heaven and earth. He said, He that created me, and sustains me, and gives me to eat, and gives me to drink, he is my God: I will have no God but him. Looking up then on the heavens, and beholding a star, he said, This is my Lord. But when it began to wane, he watched it until it departed, and then said, I love not things that set; for his genius, and acumen, and knowledge, convinced him that things which set could not be divine. Looking then at the rising moon, he said, This is my Lord. Then he followed her with his eye until she was intercepted and departed, and then he returned, no longer believing her to be his Lord; but turning to other objects. He then said, Will no one show me the right way to my Lord ? he who is a safeguard among people in error; that is, who will lead me the right way to my Lord; for truth and harmonious evidence is in his hand ? Then the sun arose, and he said, This is my Lord ; this is the greatest. But when the sun set, he returned to seek his Lord with a true and humble heart; and he found him, found his face in verity, in sincerity, in certainty, and began publicly to preach among the Pagans the Distinctive Doctrine, and said, O people! I am

wearied with your Paganism ; I turn my face unto him who created out of nothing the heavens and the earth, embracing his true Moslem religion ; for I will not be of the number of the Pagans. God, after this, translated him from the Sure Evidence of Knowledge unto the Sure Evidence of Sight. After this, his father imposed silence

upon him.

He continued, however, to grow up, and to augment in perfect excellence, until God gave him the glorious gift of signs, and glories, and splendour ; and thus he clothed him with the honourable robe of his Friendship, and appointed him Chief of Divine-Ordinance-Imparters and Apostles, Father of Prophets, Crown of the Elect, Light of the World, and Glory of his People. Most people assert that he was born in Kútha, in the region of Babylon in Irák. Nor was the faith imparted to any man before Abraham. He first brought forward the whole: for, says Ibn-Abbás, It is evident that God opened Abraham's heart from these words of the Great Book :- viz. “ So Abraham was tempted by his Lord, but yet saved him.” The words, also, which God sware unto him are among the most noble divine injunctions in Islám, and the most powerful in opening the hearts of the people of the earth to the faith which Abraham possessed.

[ocr errors]

Thus, then, did God tempt Abraham by his word; yet Abraham was perfect, and his will was perfect. He was consummate and perfect, whether we inquire into his faith, or his soul, or his property, or his son ; and he displayed consummate excellence when Nimrod made a slinging-engine for him, and cast him into the fire. Then shone forth the truth and verity of resistance to temptation, and the reality of his Chieftainship; for, being placed by his enemies in the slingingmachine, the angels then prayed that help might be granted unto him, saying, “O our Lord ! thou knowest what thine enemies have done unto thy friend." Upon this, God said unto Gabriel, Go unto him; and if he entreat for aid, then aid him, and join with my corner-stone and my friend. Gabriel then went to meet him whilst he was shooting, like a sling, through the expanse of the atmosphere unto the fire. Then said Gabriel unto him, Hast thou need of any thing? And he replied, If from thee, no; if from God, yes; for he is my guardian-protector from danger and ill. None but God can aid .me. He shall be the asylum of my sorrow, when he sees fit. Nevertheless, I quietly submit to the decision of God, relying in full acquiescence upon his ordinance to dispose of


life. With this, he called upon God by his Two Names; and God saved him from the

flame, and said unto it, O fire! become cold and harmless unto Abraham! (Some intelligent persons remark, that the word 'harmless' was added, lest the cold should destroy Abraham.) Upon this, the fire submitted ; and it has been said, that from that time there is no fire, either in the East or West, but will submit to a duly and deliberatelyuttered divine word.

It is said again, that when he was placed in the slinging-machine, bis garments were torn off from him. He fell down then into the glowing mass of embers, all in a blaze. But they separated and parted, and nothing of the heated mass came in contact with him, or marked him at all. Those also who were near, and beheld him, saw that the ground in which he alighted was of bright green, and uninjured. Here he sat, safe and sound in person and appearance—the most beautiful sight ever beheld. After this, he received a vest from Paradise; and Gabriel broke his chain and fetter, and said, Peace dwell with thee! The Lord of Peace saith unto thee, Know that the fire shall not injure my beloved. Then said Abraham, God is my guardian and my provider. Abraham was the first who had his garments torn from him in God's cause; for which reason God granted unto him a Vest on the spot; and he shall be clothed in a robe, the first of all men, on the day

« PreviousContinue »