Page images
PDF
EPUB

economy or political jurisprudence as on points of dogma. It was not, therefore, necessary for me to go into details on these points.

When I have drawn any conclusion from data which Muhammadan literature, and the present practice of Muslims have afforded me, I have striven to give what seems to me a just and right one. Still, I gladly take this opportunity of stating that I have found many Muslims better than their creed, men with whom it is a pleasure to associate, and whom I respect for many virtues and esteem as friends. I judge the system, not any individual in it.

In India, there are a number of enlightened Muhammadans, ornaments to native society, useful servants of the State, men who show a laudable zeal in all social reforms, so far as is consistent with a reputation for orthodoxy. Their number is far too few, and they do not, in many cases, represent orthodox Islám, nor do I believe their counterpart would be found amongst the 'Ulamá of a Muslim State. The fact is that the wave of scepticism which has passed over Europe has not left the East untouched. Hindu and Muslim alike have felt its influence, but to judge of either the one system or the other from the very liberal utterances of a few men who expound their views before English audiences is to yield oneself up to delusion on the subject.

Islám in India has also felt the influence of contact with other races and creeds, though, theologically speaking, the Imán and the Dín, the faith and the practice, are unchanged, and remain as I have

described them in chapters four and five. If Islám in India has lost some of its original fierceness, it has also adopted many superstitious practices, such as those against which the Wahhábís protest. The great mass of the Musalmán people are quite as superstitious, if not more so, than their heathen neighbours. Still the manliness, the suavity of manner, the deep learning, after an oriental fashion, of many Indian Musalmáns render them a very attractive people. It is true there is a darker side-much bigotry, pride of race, scorn of other creeds, and, speaking generally, a tendency to inertness. It is thus that in Bengal, Madras and perhaps in other places, they have fallen far behind the Hindus in educational status, and in the number of appointments they hold in the Government service. Indeed, this subject is a serious one and deserves the special attention of the Indian Government. In Bengal the proportion of Musalmáns to Hindus in the upper ranks of the Uncovenanted Civil Service in 1871 was 77 to 341. In the year 1880 it had declined to 53 to 451. The state of affairs in Madras is equally bad. Yet an intelligent Muslim, as a rule, makes a good official.

Looking at the subject from a wider stand-point, I think the Church has hardly yet realised how great a barrier this system of Islám is to her onward march in the East. Surely special men with special training are required for such an enterprise as that of encountering Islám in its own strongholds. No better pioneers of the Christian

faith could be found in the East than men won from the Crescent to the Cross.

All who are engaged in such an enterprise will perhaps find some help in this volume, and I am not without hope that it may also throw some light on the political questions of the day.

[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

THE FOUNDATIONS OF ISLÁM.

THE creed of Islám, "Lá-iláha-il lal-láhu wa Muhammad-urRasúl-Ulláh," (There is no deity but God, and Muhammad is the Apostle of God) is very short, but the system itself is a very dogmatic one. Such statements as: "The Qurán is an all-embracing and sufficient code, regulating everything," "The Qurán contains the entire code of Islámthat is, it is not a book of religious precepts merely, but it governs all that a Muslim does," "The Qurán contains the whole religion of Muhammad," "The Qurán which contains the whole Gospel of Islám" are not simply misleading, they are erroneous. So far from the Qurán alone being the sole rule of faith and practice to Muslims, there is not one single sect amongst them whose faith and practice is based on it alone. No one among them disputes its authority or casts any doubt upon its genuineness. Its voice is supreme in all that it concerns, but its exegesis, the whole system of legal jurisprudence and of theological science, is largely founded on the Traditions. Amongst the orthodox Musalmáns, the foundations of the Faith are four in number, the Qurán, Sunnat, Ijmá' and Qíás. The fact that all the sects do not agree with the orthodox-the Sunnís-in this matter illustrates another important fact in Islám-the want of unity amongst its followers,

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »