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terest, had they recognized, in the Arabian prophet, the hope ot Israel and the promised Messiah. Their obstinacy coi vetted 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.186 The Kainoka dw.dt at Medina under the protection of the city; he seized '.he occasion of an accidental tumult, and summoned them to embrace his religion, or contend with him in battle. "Alas!" 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 f The unequal conflict was terminated in fifteen days; and it was with extreme reluctance that Mahomet yielded to the importunity of his allies, and cousented to spare the lives of the aptives. But their riches were confiscated, their arms be•ame more effectual in the hands of the Mussulmans; 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 Nadhirh.es were more guilty, since they conspired, in a friendly interview, to assassinate the prophet. He besieged their castle, ihree miles from Medina; but their resolute defence obtained an honorable capitulation; and the garrison, sounding their trumpets and beating their drums, was permitted to depart with the honors of wa.\ 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 armor, 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 inmdred Jews were dragged in chains to the market-place of ihe 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 Bheep and camels were inherited by the Mussulmans: three
1,1 The wars of Mahomet against the Jewish tribes of Kainoka, the Nadhirites, Koraidha, and Chaibar, are related by Abulfeda (p. 61, 71, 11, 87, <fcc.) aai Gagnier, (torn. ii. p. 61—65, 107—112, 139-148, 2u« -294.)
hundred cuirasses, five hundred piles, 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 hundi ed 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 tpostle revived their faith and courage by the example of Ali, on whom ne 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 cimeter; 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.138 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 transported to Syria; and the caliph alleged the injunction of Ms dying master; that one and the true religion should be professed in his native land of Arabia.137
Five times each day the eyes of Mahomet were turned towards Mecca,13* and he was urged by the most sacred and powerful motives to revisit, as a conqueror, the city and the
1,8 Abu Rafe, the servant of Mahomet, is said to affirm that he him iw»lf, an 1 seven other men, afterwards tried, without success, to move the same gate from the ground, (Abulfeda. p. 90.) Abu Rafe was an eye-witness, but who will be witness for Abu Rafe?
137 The banishment of the Jews is attested by Elmacin (Hist. Saracen, p 9) and the great A.1 Zabari, (Gagn.er, torn. ii. p. 285.) Yet tfiebuhr (Description de l'Arabie, (p. 324) Relieves that the Jewish religion, and Karaite sect, are still professea by the tribe of Chaibar; and that, in the plunder of the caravans, the disciples of Moses are the confederates of those of Mahomet,
1,8 The successive steps of the reduction of Mecca are related by Abulfeda (p. 84—87, 97—100. 102—111) and Gagnier, (torn ii. p 30?
temple from whence he had been driven as an exile. The Caaba was present to his waking and sleeping fancy: an idle dream was translated into vision and prophecy; he unfurled the holy banner; and a rash promise of success too hastily dropped from the lips of the apostle. His march from Medina to Mecca displayed the peaceful and solemn pomp of a pilgrimage: seventy camels, chosen and bedecked for sacrifice. >receded the van; the sacred territory was respected; and the captives were dismissed without ransom to proclaim his clemency and devotion. But no sooner did Mahomet descend into the plain, within a day's journey of the city, than he ex claimed, "They have clothed themselves with the skins of tigers:" the numbers and resolution of the Koreish opposed his progress; and the roving Arabs of the desert might desert or betray a leader whom they had followed for the hopes of spoil. The intrepid fanatic sunk into a cool and cautious politician: he waived in the treaty his title of apostle of God; concluded with the Koreish and their allies a truce of ten years; engaged to restore the fugitives of Mecca who should embrace his religion; and stipulated only, for the ensuing year, the humble privilege of entering the city as a friend, and of remaining three days to accomplish the rites of the pilgrimage. A cloud of shame and sorrow hung on the retreat of the Mussulmans, and their disappointment might justly accuse the failure of a prophet who had so often appealed to the evidence of success. The faith and hope of the pilgrims were rekindled by the prospect of Mecca: their swords were sheathed; * seven times in the footsteps of the apostle they encompassed the Caaba: the Koreish had retired to the hills, and Mahomet, after the customary sacrifice, evacuated the city on the fourth day. The people was edified by his devotion; the hostile chiefs were awed, or divided, or seduced; and both Kaled and Amrou, the future conquerors of Syria and Egypt, most seasonably deserted the sinking cause of idolatry. The power of Mahomet was increased by the s.ibmission of the Arabian tribes; ten thousand soldiers were assembled for the conquest of Mecca; and the idolaters, the
* This peaceful entrance into Mecca took p"/ace, according to the treaty to following year. Weil, p. 20» -M. 1845
weaker party, were easily convicted of violating the truce, Enthusiasm and discipline impelled the march, and preserved the secret till the blaze of ten thousand fires proclaimed tc the astonished Koreish the design, the approach, and the irresistible force of the enemy. The haughty Abu Sophian presented the keys of the city, admired the variety of arms and ensigns that passed before him in review; observed that the >n of Abdallah had acquired a mighty kingdom, and con eesed, under the cimeter of Omar, that he was the apostle jf the true God. The return of Marius and Scylla waa stained with the blood of the Romans: the revenge of Manomet was stimulated by religious zeal, and his injured followers were eager to execute or to prevent the order of a massacre. Instead of indulging their passions and his own,1" the victorious exile forgave the guilt, and united the factions, of Mecca. His troops, in three divisions, marched into the city: eight-and-twenty of the inhabitants were slain by the sword of Caled; eleven men and six women were pioscribed by the sentence of Mahomet; but he blamed the ciuelty of his lieutenant; and several of the most obnoxious victims were indebted for their lives to his clemency or contempt. The chiefs of the Koreish were prostrate at his feet. "What mercy can you expect from the man whom you have wronged?" "We confide in the generosity of our kins man." "And you shall not confide in vain: begone! you are safe, you are free" The people of Mecca deserved their pardon by the profession of Islam; and after an exile of seven years, the fugitive missionary was enthroned as the prince and prophet of his native country.140 But the three hundred and sixty idols of the Caaba were ignominiously broken: the house of God was purified and adorned: as an
'" After the conquest of Mecca, the Mahomet of Voltaire imagines and perpetuates the most horrid crimes. The poet confesses, that he is not supported by the truth of history, and can only allege, que celui qui fait la guerre a sa patrie au nom de Dieu, est capable de tout, (CEuvres de Voltaire, torn. xv. p. 282.) The maxim is neither charitable nor philosophic; and some reverence is surely due to the fame of heroes and the religion of nations. I am informed that a Turkish ambassador at Paris was much scandalized at the representation of lliis tragedy.
140 The Mahometan doctors still dispute, whether Mecca was reduced by force or consent (Abulfeda, p. 107, et Gagnier ad locum;) and this verbal controversy is »f as much moment as our own about W il liam the Conqueror
example to future times, the apostle again fulfilled the duties of a pilgrim; and a perpetual law was enacted that no unbeliever should dare to set his foot on the territory of the holy city.1"
The conquest of Mecca determined the faith and obedience of the Arabian tribes; "* who. according to the vicissitudes of fortune, had obeyed, or disregarded, the eloquence or the arms of the prophet. Indifference for rites and opinions still marks the character of the Bedoweens; and they might accept, as loosely as they hold, the doctrine of the Koran. Yet an obstinate remnant still adhered to the religion and liberty of their ancestors, and the war of Honain derived a propel appellation from the idols, whom Mahomet had vowed to destroy, and whom the confederates of Tayef had sworn to defend.143 Four thousand Pagans advanced with secrecy and speed to surprise the conqueror: they pitied and despised the supine negligence of the Koreish, but they depended on the wishes, and perhaps the aid, of a people who had so lately renounced their gods, and bowed beneath the yoke of their enemy. The banners of Medina and Mecca were displayed by the prophet; a crowd of Bedoweens increased the strength or numbers of the army, and twelve thousand Mussulmans entertained a rash and sinful presumption of their invincible strength. They descended without precaution into the valley of Honain: the heights had been occupied by the archers and slingers of the confederates; their numbers were oppressed, their discipline was confounded, their courage was appalled, and the Koreish smiled at their impending destruction. The prophet, on his white mule, was encompassed by
141 In excluding the Christians from the peninsula of Arabia, the province of Hejaz, or the navigation of the Red Sea, Chardin (Voyages' en Perse, torn. iv. p. 166) and Reland (Dissertat. Miscell. torn. iii. p. 61) are more rigid than the Mussulmans themselves. The Christian? are received without scruple into the ports of Mocha, and even of Gedda; and it is only the city and precincts of Mecca that are inaccessible to the profane, (Niebuhr, Description de l'Arabie, p. 308, 30'.', Voyage en Arabie, torn. i. p. 205, 248. &c.)
142 Abulfeda, p. 112—115. Gagnier, torn. iii. p. 67—88. D'Herbe Jjt, Mohammed.
," The siege of Tayef, division of the spoil, <fec, are related by Abulfeda (p. 117—123) and Gagnier, (torn. iii. p. 88—111.) It is Al Jfannabi who mentions the engines and engineers of the tribe of Daws Hie fertile spot of Tayef was supposed to be a piec* of the land of Syria detached and dropped in the general deluge