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If a prophet intends by bringing the message of salvation to such an one to make God's knowledge become ignorance, he would be doing wrong ; but as he does not know the secret decrees of God, his duty is to deliver his message according to the Hadís: “A prophet has only to deliver the clear message.”
(v). The Mutazilites claimed as on their side all verses of the Qurán, in which the words to do, to construct, to renew, to create, &c., are applied to men. Such are the
“ Whatever is in the heavens and in the earth is God's that He may reward those who do evil according to their deeds: and those who do good will He reward with good things." (Súra liii. 32). “Whoso shall have wrought eyil shall not be recompensed but with its like: but whoso shall have done the things that are right, whether male or female and is a believer, these shall enter Paradise.” (Súra xl. 43). Say: “the truth is from the Lord; let him then who will believe ; and let him who will, be an infidel.” (Súra xviii. 28). 1 " Those who add Gods to God will say: 'If God had pleased neither we nor our fathers had given Him companions.' Say : 'Verily ye follow only a conceit, ye utter lies.'” (Súra vi. 149). The Hadís is also very plain. “All good is in Thy hands and evil is not to Thee.” (Alkhair kuluhu fí yadaika wash-sharru laisa 'alaika.)
The Ash’aríans have one famous text which they bring to bear against all this reasoning and evidence. It is : “ This truly is a warning; and whoso willeth, taketh the way of his Lord; but will it ye shall not, unless God will it, for God is knowing, wise.” (Súra lxxvi. 29, 30). To the Hadís they reply (1) that there is a difference between acquiescence in evil and decreeing it. Thus the expression “God willeth not tyranny for His servants," does not mean
1. The orthodox Commentator ’Abbás says : This verse refers to the decree, e. g. 'He whom God wills to believe certainly will do so, and whom He wills to be an infidel will be one,' and not at all to man's free will.” Tafsír-Husainí, vol. ii. page 9.
that God hath not decreed it, but that tyranny is not one of His attributes : so evil is not to Thee” means it is not an attribute of God; and (2) the Hadís must be explained in accordance with the teaching of the Qurán.
The Muslim philosophers tried to find a way out of the difficulty. Averhoes says: “We are free to act in this way or that, but our will is always determined by some exterior cause. For example, we see something which pleases us, we are drawn to it in spite of ourselves. Our will is thus bound by exterior causes.
These causes exist according to a certain order of things which is founded on the general laws of nature. God alone knows before hand the necessary connection which to us is a mystery. The connection of our will with exterior causes is determined by the laws of nature. It is this which in theology we call, ' decrees and predestination.' ”i
I have already shown how, as Islám grew into a system, the Muslims fell into a Cabbalism, and a superstitious reverence for the mere letters and words of the Qurán. With this declension came a still more distorted view of the character of God. The quotations made from the Qurán in the last few pages will have shown that whilst some passages seem to attribute freedom to man and speak of his 'consequent responsibility, others teach a clear and distinct fatalism. The great strength of Islám lay in the energy with which Muhammad preached the doctrine that God was a divine Ruler, one who would deal righteous judgment, who “taught man that which he knew not."
As the system became more complex and dogmatic-a very necessary result of its first principles—men lost the sense of the nearness of God. He became an unapproachable being. A harsh unfeeling Fate took the place of the Omnipotent Ruler. It is this dark fatalism which, whatever the Qurán may teach on the subject, is the ruling principle in all Muslim communi
1. Mélanges de Philosophe Juive et Arabe par S. Munk. p. 458.
ties. It is this which makes all Muhammadan nations decay. Careless of self-improvement, heedless of the need of progress, the Muslim nations, still independent, are in all that relates to the higher aspects of intellectual and civilized life far behind the nations of the west.
The subject of 'Ilm-i-Aqáid, or the science of dogma properly ends here, but most Muslim treatises include in this branch of the subject a few practical remarks. I therefore add a summary of them here. The believer who commits murder, fornication, &c., does not cease to be a Muslim provided that he does not say that these are allowed : should he die unrepentant, God can punish him for a while in hell, or forgive him without punishment. The Hadd, a punishment based on a Záhir, or obvious sentence of the Qurán requires that a Muslim who apostatizes shall be put to death. In the case of an apostate woman, Imám Abu Hanifa ruled that she should be imprisoned and beaten every day. The other three Imáms, Málik, Sháfa'í and Hanbal said that she should be put to death in accordance with the Tradition which says: "He who changes his religion, kill.” The Arabic word “man,” usually translated “He who” is of common gender, and so these Imáms include women in the list of those who, after apostasy, are to be killed. God does not pardon polytheism and infidelity ; but He can, if He willeth, pardon all other crimes. If any one is asked, " dost thou believe ?” he should reply, “I am truly a believer," and not say: "If God willeth." If any one says to him: “Wilt thou die in the faith ?” he should reply : “I do not know, God knows." Except when speaking of prophets, or of those of whom the Prophets have spoken, such as Abu Bakr, Omar, Osmán and ’Alí, it must not be said of any one, “he is gone to Paradise,” for God only knows his state. Prayer should be made for a deceased Muslim whether he was a good or bad man. To give alms, to read the Qurán, to perform other good works, and to apply the merit thus gained to the souls of the dead is a pious and beneficial act.
1. Thus the poet Faizí says: “ Before thou and I were thought of, our free will was taken from our hands; be without cares, for the Maker of both worlds settled our affairs long before we were made.”.
2. The punishment of death is sometimes decreed for lesser offences. In the latter part of the year 1879, one of the Turkish 'Ulamá, named Ahmad, was condemned to death for having assisted Dr. Koelle, an English clergyman residing in Constantinople, in the translation of the Book of Common Prayer, and a tract on Christ the Word of God. Owing to the urgent representations of the British Ambassador the Khojah's life was spared, but he was banished to the island of Chio. The Porte pro. mised to maintain his family whilst he was absent. It need scarcely be said that nothing of the kind has been done.
3, Journal Asiatique 4me Série, tome 17, p. 582
NOTE TO CHAPTER IV.
I HAVE shown in the preceding chapter how the earlier scholastics, or the Mutazilites, as they are called, were finally crushed by the orthodox party. The later scholastics, or the philosophers, form the subject of this note. The Khalíf Mámún (813-833 A.D.), a notorious free-thinker, was the first to give an impulse to philosophic researches. It was then that Greek philosophical works were trans, lated into Arabic. The Greek author most patronized was Aristotle, partly, because his empirical method accorded with the positive tendencies of the rab mind better than the pure idealism of Plato; and, partly, because his system of logic was considered an useful auxiliary in the daily quarrels between the rival theological schools. It was quite natural that. Aristotle should be thus followed. “The Musalmán mind was trained in habits of absolute obedience to the authority of fixed dogmas. The Muslims did not so much wish to discover truth as to cultivate their own intellect. For that purpose, a sharp and subtle systematist, like Aristotle was the very man they required.”1 Some idea of the range of subjects then discussed may be gained from an account given by the Arab historian, Masoudi, of a meeting held under the Presidentship of Yahya, one of the famous Barmecide family. 2 Yahya thus addressed the meeting : “ You have discussed at length the theory of concealment (Al-Kumún) and manifestation (Al-Zahúr), of pre-existence and creation, of duration and stability, of movement and quiescence, of the uni n and separation (of the Divine substance), of existence and non-existence, of bodies and accidents, of the approval and the refutation (of the Isnáds of the Traditions), of the absence or the existence of attributes in God, of potential and active force, of substance, quantity, modality and relation, of life and annihilation. You have examined the question as to whether the Imám rules by divine right, or by popular election ; you have had an exhaustive discussion on metaphysical subjects, in their principles and corollaries. Occupy yourselves to-day with the subject of love,” &c.
The translation of the works of Aristotle, as indeed of all the Greek authors, was made by Syrian and Chaldean Christians, and
1. Kingsley's Alexandria and her Schools, p. 160. 2. Les Prairies D'or, tome sixième, p. 368.