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briel and three thousand angels. His eye was fixed char.
on the field of battle: the Musulmans fainted and “
were pressed: in that decisive moment the prophet started from his throne, mounted his horse, and cast a handful of sand into the air; “Let their faces be covered with confusion.” Both armies heard the thunder of his voice: their fancy beheld the angelic warriors:" the Koreish trembled and fled: seventy of the bravest were slain; and seventy captives adorned the first victory of the faithful. The dead bodies of the Koreish were despoiled and insulted: two of the most obnoxious prisoners were punished with death; and the ransom of the others, four thousand drams of silver, compensated in some degree the escape of the caravan. But it was in vain that the camels of Abu Sophian explored a new road through the desert and along the Euphrates: they were overtaken by the diligence of the Musulmans; and wealthy must have been the prize, if twenty thousand drams could be set apart for the fifth of the apostle. The resentment of the public and private loss stimulated Abu Sophian to collect a body of three thousand men, seven hundred of whom were armed with cuirasses, and two hundred were mounted on horseback: three thousand camels attended his march; and his wife Henda, with fifteen matrons of Mecca, incessantly sounded their timbrels to animate the troops,
difference is of the utmost moment for the honour both of the interpreter and of the hero. I am sorry to observe the pride and acrimony with which Reiske chastises his fellow-labourer. Saepe sic vertit, ut integrae paginae nequeant nisi ună litura corrigi: Arabice non satis callebat, et carebat judicio critico. J. J. Reiske, Prodidagmata ad Hagji Chalifa, Tabulas, p. 228, ad calcem Abulfedae Syriae Tabulae; Lipsiae, 1766, in 4to.
* The loose expressions of the Koran (c. 3. p. 124, 125. c. 8, p. 9) allow the commentators to fluctuate between the numbers of 1000, 3000, or 9000 angels; and the smallest of these might suffice for the slaughter of seventy of the Koreish (Maracci, Alcoran, tom. ii. p. 131). Yet the same scholiasts confess, that this angelic band was not visible to any mortal eye (Maracci, p. 297). They refine on the words (c. 8, 16), “not thou, but God,” &c. (D'Herbelot, Bibliot. Orientale, p. 600, 601).
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and to magnify the greatness of Hobal, the most popular deity of the Caaba. The standard of God and Mahomet was upheld by nine hundred and fifty believers: the disproportion of numbers was not more alarming than in the field of Beder; and their presumption of victory prevailed against the divine and human sense of the apostle. The second battle was fought on Mount Ohud, six miles to the north of Medina:" the Koreish advanced in the form of a crescent; and the right wing of cavalry was led by Caled, the fiercest and most successful of the Arabian warriors. The troops of Mahomet were skilfully
posted on the declivity of the hill; and their rear
was guarded by a detachment of fifty archers. The weight of their charge impelled and broke the centre of the idolaters; but in the pursuit they lost the advantage of their ground: the archers deserted their station: the Musulmans were tempted by the spoil, disobeyed their general, and disordered their ranks. The intrepid Caled, wheeling his cavalry on their flank and rear, exclaimed, with a loud voice, that Mahomet was slain. He was indeed wounded in the face with a javelin: two of his teeth were shattered with a stone; yet, in the midst of tumult and dismay, he reproached the infidels with the murder of a prophet; and blessed the friendly hand that stanched his blood, and conveyed him to a place of safety. Seventy martyrs died for the sins of the people: they fell, said the apostle, in pairs, each brother embracing his lifeless companion: their bodies were mangled by the inhuman females of Mecca; and the wife of Abu Sophian tasted the entrails of Hamza, the uncle of Mahomet. They might applaud their superstition, and satiate their fury; but the Musulmans soon rallied in the field, and the Koreish CHAP. wanted strength or courage to undertake the siege * of Medina. It was attacked the ensuing year by The naan army of ten thousand enemies; and this third ex-ji. pedition is variously named from the nations, which A. D. 625. marched under the banner of Abu Sophian, from the ditch which was drawn before the city, and a camp of three thousand Musulmans. The prudence of Mahomet declined a general engagement: the valour of Ali was signalised in single combat; and the war was protracted twenty days, till the final separation of the confederates. A tempest of wind, rain, and hail, overturned their tents: their private quarrels were fomented by an insidious adversary; and the Koreish, deserted by their allies, no longer hoped to subvert the throne, or to check the conquests, of their invincible exile." The choice of Jerusalem for the first kebla of Mahomet prayer discovers the early propensity of Mahomet in .. favour of the Jews; and happy would it have been o for their temporal interest, had they recognised, in —627. the Arabian prophet, the hope of Israel and the promised Messiah. Their obstinacy converted his friendship into implacable hatred, with which he pursued that unfortunate people to the last moment of his life: and in the double character of an apostle and a conqueror, his persecution was extended to both worlds.” The Kainoka dwelt at Medina under the protection of the city: he seized the occasion of an accidental tumult, and summoned them to embrace
b Geograph. Nubiensis, p. 47. • In the iiid chapter of the Koran (p. 50–53, with Sale's notes), the prophet alleges some poor excuses for the defeat of Ohud.
his religion, or contend with him in battle. “Alas,”
* For the detail of the three Koreish wars, of Beder, of Ohud, and of the ditch, peruse Abulfeda (p. 56–61. 64–69. 73–77), Gagnier (tom. ii. p. 23–45. 70 –96. 120–139), with the proper articles of D'Herbelot, and the abridgments of Elmacin (Hist. Saracen. p. 6, 7), and Abulpharagius (Dynast. p. 102).
* The wars of Mahomet against the Jewish tribes, of Kainoka, the Nadhirites, Koraidha, and Chaibar, are related by Abulfeda (p. 61.71. 77.87, &c.) and Gagnier (tom. ii. p. 61–65. 107–112. 139–148. 268–294).
CHAP. replied the trembling Jews, “we are ignorant of the
use of arms, but we persevere in the faith and worship of our fathers; why wilt thou reduce us to the necessity of a just defence?” The unequal conflict was terminated in fifteen days; and it was with extreme reluctance that Mahomet yielded to the importunity of his allies, and consented to spare the lives of the captives. But their riches were con
fiscated, their arms became more effectual in the hands of the Musulmans; and a wretched colony of
seven hundred exiles was driven with their wives and children to implore a refuge on the confines of Syria. The Nadhirites were more guilty, since they conspired in a friendly interview to assassinate the prophet. He besieged their castle three miles from Medina, but their resolute defence obtained an honourable capitulation; and the garrison, sounding their trumpets and beating their drums, was permitted to depart with the honours of war. The Jews had excited and joined the war of the Koreish: no sooner had the nations retired from the ditch, than Mahomet, without laying aside his armour, marched on the same day to extirpate the hostile race of the children of Koraidha. After a resistance of twenty-five days, they surrendered at discretion. They trusted to the intercession of their old allies of Medina: they could not be ignorant that fanaticism obliterates the feelings of humanity. A venerable elder, to whose judgment they appealed, pronounced the sentence of their death: seven hundred Jews were dragged in chains to the market-place of the city: they descended alive into the grave prepared for their execution and burial; and the apostle beheld with an inflexible eye the slaughter of his helpless enemies. Their sheep and camels were inherited by the Musulmans: three hundred cuirasses, five hundred pikes, a thousand lances, composed the most useful portion of the spoil. Six days’ journey to the north-east of Medina, the ancient and wealthy town of Chaibar was the seat of the Jewish power in Arabia; the territory, a fertile spot in the desert, was covered with plantations and cattle, and protected by eight castles, some of which were esteemed of impregnable strength. The forces of Mahomet consisted of two hundred horse and fourteen hundred foot: in the succession of eight regular and painful sieges they were exposed to danger, and fatigue, and hunger; and the most undaunted chiefs despaired of the event. The apostle revived their faith and courage by the example of Ali, on whom he bestowed the surname of the Lion of God: perhaps we may believe that a Hebrew champion of gigantic stature was cloven to the chest by his irresistible scimitar; but we cannot praise the modesty of romance, which represents him as tearing from its hinges the gate of a fortress, and wielding the ponderous buckler in his left hand. After the reduction of the castles, the town of Chaibar submitted to the yoke. The chief of the tribe was tortured, in the presence of Mahomet, to force a confession of his hidden treasure: the industry of the shepherds and husbandmen was rewarded with a precarious toleration: they were permitted, so long as it should please the conqueror, to improve their patrimony, in equal shares, for his emolument and their own. Under the reign of Omar, the Jews of Chaibar were transplanted to Syria; and the caliph alleged the injunction of his dying master, that one and the true religion should be professed in his native land of Arabia.”
f Abu Rafe, the servant of Mahomet, is said to affirm that he himself, and