« PreviousContinue »
the best criterion of the state of general sentiment. It is to be regretted that our means of conducting such an examination into the springs of early Muhammadanism are in comparison so limited. The Korán contains little besides hints and riddles; and the stream of tradition cannot be regarded as perfectly unsullied. Perhaps, however, the main points of interest may be depended upon.
Premising that our facts can be only stated with brevity, with little detailed explanation, the following may probably merit our attention. When Muhammad retired to the cave in the mountain Hará (b), previous to the first alleged revelation of Gabriel, he was accompanied by his family or some of his household (alool); and upon his assumption of the prophetical office, his wife Khadijah consulted her uncle, Warakah-IbnNawfal (cligi u? 30,9) a Christian, who could read the Law and the Gospel, upon the subject of her husband's pretensions. Warakah, it is said, having consulted the sacred books, replied, That Muhammad was that person whose advent the Law of Moses predicted, and was the prophet of his nation:
لقد جاء القاموس الأكبر الذي كان ياتي موسي بن
هذه الأمة انه
But it does not appear that Warakah embraced his kinsman's religion.
The prophet having thus opened his commission, proceeded to solicit converts; but of the circumstances attending the conversion of his first partizans, it is evident that we can possess no record or tradition deserving our confidence ;
thing was done in a corner,” and was never brought to light. When, however, the prophet began to excite more attention, and his doctrine and assumptions became more notorious, the various conversions which augmented the number of his friends and supporters would evidently become the objects of remark and history. By examining into the circumstances which attended those later conversions, we shall be enabled, probably, to obtain some retrospective insight into the motives which influenced the first followers of Islám. Hamza, uncle of Muhammad, was violently enraged by the report of certain insulting expressions used against his nephew. He sought Abú Jahl, the alleged author of the injury, and, after a violent altercation, wounded him, and thus excited the vengeance of his clan. This was the cause (says Abul Feda) which completed the conversion to Islám of Hamza. Al Abbás, another uncle of the prophet, had always zealously protected him from the attacks of the
Koraish, without, however, accepting him as a prophet. It was Al Abbás who conducted the negociations with the inhabitants of Medína on behalf of his nephew, in course of which he, as if it were a matter of no moment, addresses the latter as “ the Apostle of God.” After the flight to Medina, Al Abbás returned to Mecca, and at the battle of Bedr was taken prisoner by the Moslems, and presented to Muhammad. When we hear again of him, after a short interval, he had become a convert. Few more
converts appeared for some time. Meanwhile, the prophet obtained repeated victories over the neighbouring tribes, especially the Jewish Arabs, by which he enriched his followers, and consolidated his authority. By presenting himself before Mecca, he had exhibited the force, number, and enthusiasm of his gallant followers; and in the eighth year of the Hijra, Khalid and Amr deserted, and joined him. The capture of Mecca soon followed, and the conversion of Abú Sufián presents some remarkable particulars.
Muhammad's army, when he drew near to the city, amounted to ten thousand men. The capture of the place being now inevitable, Al Abbás began to be desirous to secure the safety of his kinsmen and friends there. He greatly desired (says Abul Feda) to meet with some straggler, by whom he might
certify the Koraish of the utter helplessness of resistance, and advise them to submit by a voluntary surrender to the army of the victorious prophet. Advancing from the camp for this purpose, he met with Abú Sufian himself, accompanied by some of the principal Koraish, who had come out to reconnoitre. Al Abbás, in few words, explained the danger, and besought Abú Sufián to ride on, and claim from Muhammad personal immunity. Abú Sufián instantly saw his situation, and obeyed. Whilst riding forward to the prophet's tent, he was perceived by OmarIbn-Al-Khattab, who, with an exclamation of joy at the opportunity offered, declared that he would at once despatch him; but Abú Sufián outrode the fierce zealot, and, coming up to Muhammad, begged his life; Omar arriving immediately after, with an entreaty for permission to despatch him. To the intercession of Al Abbás, however, Muhammad replied, “I promise him safety. Bring him hither to me, Al Abbás, to-morrow.' ΑΙ Abbás, departing, entertained the chief, and the following day presented him to the prophet. “How !” said Muhammad, “is it not now time for thee, O Abú Sufián! to know that there is no god but God ?” That truth, he replied, I acknowledge. But woe unto thee! said Muhammad; is it not time that thou shouldst also
know that I am the Prophet of God? To this he replied, Be thou unto me as my father and my mother ; but as to that other thing, I feel something within me that rejects it. Al Abbás here exclaimed, For heaven's sake, say the Confession! your head will assuredly be struck off. Upon this, Abú Sufián cried out the required creed or formula of acquiescence in the Musalmán faith. Having done this, the prophet said, “ Al Abbás, go with Abú Sufián to the narrow pass of the valley, and let him behold the army of God.” O Apostle! replied Al Abbás, he loves glory. Will
you, then, grant my wish, and give him some especial privilege, whereby he may receive honour among his people? To this the prophet answered,
Whoso entereth the abode of Abú Sufián, he is secure.
Whoso entereth the Temple of the Kaaba, he is secure.
Whoso closeth his own gate, he is secure. Whoso entereth the house of Hakim-Ibn-Hazám, he is secure.” After this, Al Abbás proceeded with his kinsman to the lower part of the valley, where the prophet's army passed in review before him. When the veteran troops of the immediate followers of Muhammad passed by, Abú Sufián was struck by their martial appearance. Who is this? said he. That is the Apostle of God, with the Helpers and the Fugitives, was the reply. Truly, said Abú