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fcbe ey*& if the nation: the messengers of the Koreish pur sued thf Mussulman exiles in the heart of Africa: they besieged t) e prophet and his most faithful followers, intercepted their w .ter, and inflamed their mutual animosity by the retaliati n of injuries and insults. A doubtful truce restored the apf sarances of concord till the death of Abu Taleb abandoned Jahomet to the power of his enemies, at the moment when \e was deprived of his domestic comforts by the loss of his aithful and generous Cadijah. Abu Sophian, the chief of tht branch of Ommiyah, succeeded to the principality of che re public of Mecca. A zealous votary of the idols, a mortal fo<3 of the line of Hashem, he convened an assembly of the Koreishites and their allies, to decide the fate of the apostle. His imprisonment might provoke the despair of his enthusiasm; and the exile of an eloquent and popular fanatic wovJ i diffuse the mischief through the provinces of Arabia. Hi?, death was resolved; and they agreed that a sword from eac). tribe should be buried in his heart, to divide the guilt of his jlood, and baffle the vengeance of the Hashemites. An viyel or a spy revealed their conspiracy; and flight was the ODJy resource of Mahomet1" At the dead of night, accompinied by his friend Abubeker, he silently escaped from his house: the assassins watched at the door; but they were deceived by the figure of Ali, who reposed on the bed, and was covered with the green vestment of the apostle. The Koreish respected the piety of the heroic youth; but some verses of Ali, which are still extant, exhibit an interesting picture of his anxiety, his tenderness, and his religious confidence. Three days Mahomet and his companion were concealed in the cave of Thor, at the distance of a league from Mecca; and in the close of each evening, they received from the son and daughter of Abubeker a secret supply of intelligence and food. The diligence of the Koreish explored every haunt in the neighborhood of the city: they arrived at the entrance of the cavern; but the providential deceit of a spider's web and a pigeon's nest is supposed to convince them that the place was solitary and inviolate. "We are only two," said the trembling Abubeker. "There is a third," replied the prophet; 14 it is God himself." No sooner was the pursuit abated than the two fugitives issued from the rock, and mounted their
,,T D'Herbelot, Bibliot. Orient, p. 445. He quotes a partionlv fcwiory of the flight of Mahomet
camels: on the road to Medina, they were overtaken oy the emissaries c f the Koreish; they redeemed themselves with prayers and promises from their hands. In this eventful mo ment, the lance of an Arab might have changed the history of the world. The flight of the prophet from Mecca to Me dina has fixed the memorable sera of the Hegira"' which, at the end of twelve centuries, still discriminates the lunar years of the Mahometan nations.119
The religion of the Koran might have perished in its cradhj, had not Medina embraced with faith and reverence the holy outcasts of Mecca. Medina, or the city, known under the name of Yathreb, before it was sanctified by the throne of the prophet, was divided between the tribes of the Charegites and the Awsites, whose hereditary feud was rekindled by the slightest provocations: two colonies of Jews, who boasted a sacerdotal race, were their humble allies, and without converting the Arabs, they introduced the taste of science and religion, which distinguished Medina as the city of the Book. Some of her noblest citizens, in a pilgrimage to the Canaba, were converted by the preaching of Mahomet; on their return, they diffused the belief of God and his prophet, and the new alliance was ratified by their deputies in two secret *nd noc turnal interviews on a hill in the suburbs of Mecca. In the first, ten Charegites and two Awsites united in faith t.nd love, protested, in the name of their wives, their children, and their absent brethren, that they would forever profess the creed, and observe the precepts, of the Koran. The second was a political association, the first vital spark of the empire of the Saracens.12* Seventy-three men and two women of Medina
"• The Hegira was instituted by Omar, the second caliph, in imitation of the aera of the martyrs of the Christians, (D'Herbelot, p. 444;) and properly commenced sixty-eight days before the flight of Mahomet, with the first of Moharren, or first day of that Arabian year which coincides with Friday, July 16th, A. D. 622, (Abulfeda, Vit Moham, c. 22, 23, p. 45—50; and Greaves's edition of Uliug Beg's EpochsB Arabum, <fcc, c. 1, p. 8, 10, Ac.)*
119 Mahomet's life, from his mission to the Hegira, may be found in Abulfeda (p. 14—45) and Gagnier, (torn. i. p. 134—251, ? t2—383.) The legend from p. 187—234 is vouched by Al Jannabi, and .Usdained by Abulfeda.
M0 The triple inauguration of Mahomet is described bj .abulfeda
held ft solemn conference with Mahomet, his kinsman, and his disciples; and pledged themselves to each other by a mutual oath of fidelity. They promised, in the name of the city, that if he should be banished, they would receive him as a confederate, obey him as a leader, and defend him to the last extremity, like their wives and children. "But if you are recalled by your country," they asked with a flattering anxi ety, "will you not abandon your new allies?" "All things," replied Mahomet with a smile, "are now common between us your blood is as my blood, your ruin as my ruin. We are bound to each other by the ties of honor and interest I am your friend, and the enemy of your foes." "But if we are killed in your service, what," exclaimed the deputies of Medina, "will be our reward?" "Paradise," replied the prophet. "'Stretch forth thy hand." He stretched it forth, and they reiterated the oath of allegiance and fidelity. Their treaty was ratified by the people, who unanimously embraced the profession of Islam; they rejoiced in the exile of the apostle, but they trembled for his safety, and .impatiently expected his unreal. After a perilous and rapid journey along the sea20*st, he halted at Koba, two miles from the city, and made his? public entry into Medina, sixteen days after his flight from Mi-^ca. Five hundred of the citizens advanced to meet him; he was hailed with acclamations of loyalty and devotion ; Mahomet was mounted on a^she-camel, an umbrella shaded his head, and a turban was unfurled before him to supply the deficiency of a standard. His bravest disciples, who had been scattered by the storm, assembled round his person; and the equal, though various, merit of the Moslems was distinguished b\ the names of Mohagerians and Ansars, the fugitives of Mt-eca, and the auxiliaries of Medina. To eradicate the s^eds of jealousy, Mahomet judiciously coupled his principal follower* with the rights and obligations of brethren ;. and when Ad found himself without a peer, the prophet tendeny declared, that he would be the companion and brother of the noble youth. The expedient was crowned with success; the huly fraternity was respected in peace and war, and the two parties vied with each other in a generous emulation of course and fidelity. Once only the concord was slightly ruffled by aL accidental quarrel: a patriot of Medina arraigned the
insolence of the strangers, but the hint of their expulsion was heard with abhorrence; and his own son most eagerly offered tc lay at the apostle's feet the head of his father.
From his establishment at Medina, Mahomet assumed the exercise of the regal and sacerdotal office; and it was impioun to appeal from a judge whose decrees were inspired by the divine wisdom. A small portion of ground, the patrimony of two orphans, was acquired by gift or purchase ;m on that chosen spot he built a house and a mosch, more venerable in their rude simplicity than the palaces and temples of the Assyrian caliphs. His seal of gold, or silver, was inscribed with the apostolic title; when he prayed and preached in the weekly assembly, he leaned against the truuk of a palm-tree; and it was long before he indulged himself in the use of a chair or pulpit of rough timber.139 After a reign of six years, fifteen hundred Moslems, in arms and in the field, renewed their oath of allegiance; and their chief repeated the assurance of protection till the death of the last member, or the final dissolution of the party. It was in the same camp that the deputy of Mecca was astonished by the attention of the faithful to the words and looks of the prophet, by the eageiness with which they collected his spittle, a hair that dropped on the ground, the refuse water of his lustrations, as if they participated in some degree of the prophetic virtue. "I have seen," said he, "the Chosroes of Persia and the Csesar of Rome, but never did I behold a king among his subjects like Mahomet among his companions." The devout fervor of enthusiasm acts with more energy and truth than the cold and formal servility of courts.
In the state of nature, every man has a right to defend, by
121 Prideaux (Life of Mahomet, p. 44) reviles the wickedness of the impostor, who despoiled two poor orphans, the sons of a carpenter; a reproach which he drew from the Disputatio contra Saracenos, composed in Arabic before the year 1130; but the honest Gagnier (ad Abulfed. p. 53) has shown that they were deceived by the word Ai Nagjar, which signifies, in this place, not an obscure trade, but ii noble tribe of Arabs. The desolate state of the ground is described by Abulfer'a; and his worthy interpreter has proved, from Al Bochnri, thf offer of a price; from Al Jannabi, the fair purchase; and from Ahmcfl Ben Joseph, the payment of the money by the generous Abubeker On these grounds the prophet must be honorably acquitted.
1,8 Al Jannabi (apud Gagnier. torn. ii. p. 246, 324) describes the sea' and pulpit, as> two venerable relics of the apostle of God; and tU>. Tortrnt of his court is taken from Abulfeda, (c. 44, p. 85.)
force of arms, his person and his possessions; to repel, 01 even to prevent, the violence of his enemies, and to extend his hostilities to a reasonable measure of satisfaction and retaliation. In the free society of the Arabs, the duties of subject and citizen imposed a feeble restraint; and Mahomet, in the exercise of a peaceful and benevolent mission, had l>cen despoiled and banished by the injustice of his countrymen. The choice of an independent people had exalted the fugitive of Mecca to the rank of a sovereign; and he was invested with the just prerogative of forming alliances, and of waging offensive or defensive war. The imperfection of human rights was supplied and armed by the plenitude of divine power: the prophet of Medina assumed, in his new revelations, a fiercer and more sanguinary tone, which proves that his former moderation was the effect of weakness:IM the means of persuasion had been tried, the season of forbearance was elapsed, and he was now commanded to propagate his religion by the sword, to destroy the monuments of idolatry, and, without regarding the sanctity of days or months, to pursue the unbelieving nations of the earth. The same bloody precepts, so repeatedly inculcated in the Koran, are ascribed by the author to the Pentateuch and the Gospel. But the mild tenor of the evangelic style may explain an ambiguous text, that Jesus did not bring peace on the earth, but a sword: his patient and humble virtues should not be confounded with the intolerant zeal of princes and bishops, who have disgraced the name of his disciples. In the prosecution of religious war, Mahomet might appeal with more propriety to the example of Moses, of the Judges, and the kings of Israel. The military laws of the Hebrews are still more rigid than those of the Arabian legislator.184 The Lord of hosts marched in person before the Jews: if a city resisted their summons, the males, without distinction, were put to the sword: the seven nations of Canaan were devoted to destruction; and neither repent*
123 The viiith and ixth chapters of the Koran are the loudest and most vehement; and Maracci (Prodromus, part iv. p. 50—64) has inreighed with more justice than discretion against the double dealing pf the impostor.
'** The xth and xxth chapters of Deuteronomy, with the practical somments of Joshua. David, <fec, are read with more awe than satisfac bon by the pious Christians of the present age. But the bishops, a* well as the rabbis of former times, have beat the drum-ecclesiastic witk pleasure and success. (Sale's Preliminary Discourse, p. 149, 143.)