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full of blood And he uttered a funeral prayer for the living and the dead. In a transport of despair his sister issued from the tent, and adjured the general of the Cufians, that he would not suffer Hosein to be murdered before his eyes: a tear trickled down his venerable beard; and the boldest of his Boldiers fell back on every side as the dying hero threw himself among them. The remorseless Shamer, a name detested by the faithful, reproached their cowardice; and the grandson of Mahomet was slain with three-and-thirty strokes of lances and swords. After they had trampled on his body, they carried his head to the castle of Cufa, and the inhuman Obeidollah struck him on the mouth with a cane: "Alas," exclaimed an aged Mussulman, "on these lips have I seen the lips of the apostle of God!" In a distant age and climate, the tragic scene of the death of Hosein will awaken the sympathy of the coldest reader.17* * On the annual festival of his martyrdom, in the devout pilgrimage to his sepulchre, his Persian votaries abandon their souls to the religious frenzy of sorrow and indignation.180
178 I have abridged the interesting narrative of Ockley, (torn. ii. p. 170—231.) It is long and minute: but the pauietic, almost always, consists in the detail of little circumstances.
180 Niebuhr the Dane (Voyages en Arabie, &c, torn. ii. p. 208, ifec.) is, perhaps, the only European traveller who has dared to visit Meshed Ali and Meshed Hosein. The two sepulchres are in the hands of the Turks, who tolerate and tax the devotion of the Persian heretics.
* The account of Hosein's death, in the Persian Tarikh Tebry, is much longer; in some circumstances, more pathetic, than that of Ockley, followed by Gibbon. His family, after his defenders were all slain, perished in succession before his eyes. They had been cut off from the water, and Buffered all the agonies of thirst. His eldest son, Ally Akbar, after ten different assaults on the enemy, in each of which he slew two or three, complained bitterly of his sufferings from heat and thirst. "His father arose, and introducing his own tongue within the parched lips of his favor ite child, thus endeavored to alleviate his sufferings by the only moans of which his enemies had not yet been able to deprive him." Ally was slain and cut to pieces in his sight: this wrung from him his first and only cry; then it was that his sister Zeyneb rushed from the tent. The rest, including his nephew, fell in succession. Hosein's horse was wounded—he fell tc the ground. The hour of prayer, between noon and sunset, had arrived; the Imaun began the religious duties:—as Hosein prayed, he heard the cries of his infant child Abdallah, only twelve months old. The child was, at his desire, placed on his bosom: as he wept over it, it was trausfixed by an arrow. Hosein dragged himself to the Euphrates: as he slaked hii burning thirst, his mouth was pierced by an arrow: he drank his own blood. Wounded in four-and-thirty places, he still gallantly resisted. A soldier named Zeraiah gave the fatal wound: his head was cut off by Zii jooaheng. Price, p. 402, 410.—M.
When the sisters and children of Ali were brought in chains to the throne of Damascus, the caliph was advised to extirpate the enmity of a popular and hostile race, whom he had injured beyond the hope of reconciliation. But Yezid preferred the councils of mercy; and the mourning family was honorably dismissed to mingle their tears with their kindred at Medina. The glory of martyrdom superseded the right of primogeniture; and the twelve Imams,181 or pontiffs, of the 1'ersian creed, are Ali, Hassan, Hosein, and the lineal descendants of Hosein to the ninth generation. Without arms, or treasures, or subjects, they successively enjoyed the veneration of the people, and provoked the jealousy of the reigning caliphs: their tombs, at Mecca or Medina, on the banks of the Euphrates, or in the province of Chorasan, are still visited by the devotion of their sect. Their names were often the pretence of sedition and civil war; but these royal saints despised the pomp of the world: submitted to the will of God and the injustice of man; and devoted their innocent lives to the study and practice of religion. The twelfth and last of the Imams, conspicuous by the title of Mahadi, or the Guide, surpassed the solitude and sanctity of his predecessors. He concealed himself in a cavern near Bagdad: the time and place of his death are unknown; and his votaries pretend that he still lives, and will appear before the day of judgment to overthrow the tyranny of Dejal, or the Antichrist.1" In the lapse of two or three centuries, the posterity of Abbas, the uncle of Mahomet, had multiplied to the number of thirtythree thousand :in the race of Ali might be equally prolific: the meanest individual was above the first and greatest of princes; and the most eminent were supposed to excel the perfection of angels. But their adverse fortune, and the wide extent of the Mussulman empire, allowed an ample swpo
The festival of the death of Hosein is amply described by Sir Jolus Chardin, a traveller whom I have often praised.
181 The general article of Imam, in D'Herhelot's Bibliotheque, will indicate th.j succession; and the lives of the twelve are given under their respective names.
183 The name of Antichrist may seem ridiculous, but the Mahometans have liberally borrowed the fables of every religion, (Sale's Preliminary Discourse, p. 80, 82.) In the royal stable of Ispahan, two hoises were always kept saddled, one for the Mahadi himself, th« other for his lieutenant, Jesus the son of Mary.
1,1 In the year of the Hegira 200, (A. D. 815.) See D'Her belot, p for every bold and artful imposture, who claimed affinity with the holy seed: the sceptre of the Almohades, in Spain and Africa; of the Fatimites, in Egypt and Syria;1*4 of the Sultans of Yemen; and of the Sophis of Persia ;ll& has been consecrated by this vague and ambiguous title. Under their reigns it might be dangerous to dispute the legitimacy of thei* birth; and one of the Fatimite caliphs silenced an indiscreet question by drawing his cimeter: "This," said Moez, "is my pedigree; and these," casting a handful of gold to his soldiers,—" and these are my kindred and my children." In the various conditions of princes, or doctors, or nobles, or merchants, or beggars, a swarm of the genuine or fictitious descendants of Mahomet and Ali is honored with the appellation of sheiks, or sherifs, or emirs. In the Ottoman empire they are distinguished by a green turban; receive a stipend from the treasury; are judged only by their chief; and, however debased by fortune or character, still assert the proud preeminence of their birth. A family of three hundred persons, the pure and orthodox branch of the caliph Hassan, is preserved without taint or suspicion in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, and still retains, after the revolutions of twelve centuries, the custody of the temple, and the sovereignty of their native land. The fame and merit of Mahomet would ennoble a plebeian race, and the ancient blood of the Koreish transcends the recent majesty of the kings of the earth.188
184 D'Herbelot, p 342. The enemies of the Fatimites disgraced them by a Jewish origin. Yet they accurately deduced their genealogy from Jaafar, the sixth Imam; and the impartial Abulfeda allows Annal. Moslem, p. 230) that they were owned by many, qui absque controversia genuini sunt Alidarum, homines propaginum sua? gentis exacte oallentes. He quotes some lines from the celebrated Scherifor Jiafidf, Egone humilitatem. induam in terris hostium? (I suspect h'in to be an Edrissite of Sicily,) cum in ^Egypto sit Chalifa de gente Alii, rjuocum ego cornmunem habeo patrem et vindicem.
lHi The kings of Persia in the last century are descended from Sheik Sen, a saint of the xivth century, and through him, from Moussa Cassem, the son of Hosein, the son of Ali, (Olearius, p. 957. Chardin, torn. iii. p. 288.) But I cannot trace the intermediate degrees in any genuine or fabulous pedigree. If they were truly Fatimites, they might draw their origin from the princes of Mazanderan, who reigned in the ixth century, (D'Herbelot, p. 96.)
186 The present state of the family )f Mahomet and Ali is mod accurately described by Demetrius Cantemir (Hist, of the Othmae Empire, p. 94) and Niebuhr, (Description de i'Arabie, p. 9—16, 817
The talents of Mahomet are entitled to our applause; but his success has, perhaps, too strongly attracted our adinira lion. Are we surprised that a multitude of proselytes should embrace the doctrine and the passions of an eloquent fanatic 1 In the heresies of the church, the same seduction has been tried and repeated from the time of the apostles to that of th reformers. Does it seem incredible that a private citizen should grasp the sword and the sceptre, subdue his nativ? country, and erect a monarchy by his victorious arms? In the moving picture of the dynasties of the East, a hundred fortunate usurpers have arisen from a baser origin, surmounted more formidable obstacles, and filled a larger scope of empire and conquest. Mahomet was alike instructed to preach and to fight; and the union of these opposite qualities, while it enhanced his merit, contributed to his success: the operation of force and persuasion, of enthusiasm and fear, continually acted on each other, till every barrier yielded to their irresistible power. His voice invited the Arabs to freedom and victory, to arms and rapine, to the indulgence of their darling passions in this world and the other: the restraints which he imposed were requisite to establish the credit of the prophet, and to exercise the obedience of the people; and the only objection to his success was his rational creed of the unity and perfections of God. It is not the propagation, but the permanency, of his religion, that deserves our wonder: the same pure and perfect impression which he engraved at Mecca and Medina, is preserved, after the revolutions of twelve centuries, bv the Indian, the African, and the Turkish proselytes of the Koran. If the Christian apostles, St. Peter or St. Paul, could return to the Vatican, they might possibly inquire the name of the Deity who is worshipped with such mysterious rites in that magnificent temple: at Oxford or Geneva, they would experience less surprise; but it might still be incumbent on them to peruse the catechism of the church, and to study the orthodox commentators on their own writings and the words of their Master. But the Turkish dome of St. Sophia, with an increase of splendor and size, represents the humble tabernacle erected at Medina by the hands of Mahomet. The Mahorneta/is have uniformly withatood the temptation of reducing the object of their faith and
Ac.) It is much to be lamented, that the Danish traveller was uulb to purchase the chronicles of Arabia.
devotion to a lev 3I with the sei.ses and imagination of man, MI believe in one God, and Mahomet the apostle of God," is the simple and invariable profession of Islam. The intellectual image of the Deity has never been degraded by any visible idol; the honors of the prophet have never transgressed the measure of human virtue; and his living precepts have restrained the gratitude of his disciples within the bounds of reason and religion. The votaries of AH have, indeed, consecrated the memory of their hero, his wife, and his children; and some of the Persian doctors pretend that the divine assence was incarnate in the person of the Imams; but their superstition is universally condemned by the Sonnites; and their impiety has afforded a seasonable warning against the worship of saints and martyrs. The metaphysical questions on the attributes of God, and the liberty of man, have been agitated in the schools of the Mahometans, as well as in those of the Christians; but among the former they have never engaged the passions of the people, or disturbed the tranquillity of the state. The cause of this important difference may be found in the separation or union of the regal and sacerdotal characters. It was the interest of the caliphs, the successors of the prophet and commanders of the faithful, to repress ■md discourage all religious innovations: the order, the discipline, the temporal and spiritual ambition of the clergy, are unknown to the Moslems; and the sages of the law are the guides of their conscience and the oracles of their faith. From the Atlantic to the Ganges, the Koran is acknowledged as the fundamental code, not only of theology, but of civil and criminal jurisprudence; and the laws which regulate the actions and the property of mankind are guarded by the infallible and immutable sanction of the will of God. This religious servitude is attended with some practical disadvantage: the illiterate legislator had been often misled by his own prejudices and those of his country; and the institutions of the Arabian desert may be ill adapted to the wealth and numbers of Ispahan and Constantinople. On these occasions, the Cadhi respectfully places on his head the holy volume, and substitutes a dexterous interpretation more apposite tc the principles of equity, and the manners and policy of the .imes.
His beneficial or pernicious influence on the public happiness is the last consideration in the character of Mahomet The most bitter or most bigoted of his Christian or Jewish