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missionary labors of the active brotherhoods with all the more energy, because by their means they hoped for a speedy pacification of the new regions. But the religious zeal once aroused in this manner was later to become dangerous to Egyptian rule. It is well known that, after a persistent agitation had shown itself for some time among the Mohammedan inhabitants of the Egyptian Soudan, suddenly, in the year 1881, a hitherto obscure fakir, Muhammed Ahmed, who had been leading the life of an ascetic on the island of Aba in the White Nile (13° 30' N.), proclaimed himself as the expected last prophet, the Mahdi (“the one guided by Allah”), who was chosen to purify Islamism from corruptions and spread its dominion over the whole world. Muhammed Ahmed was a Nubian from the province of Dongola. In his youth he worked at the trade of boat's carpenter near Sennaar. But he soon forsook his trade, attended a school in the neighborhood of Khartoum, and, after being initiated into the mysteries of the alphabet and the knowledge of the Koran, he established himself as an ascetic (fakir) on the White Nile, and had soon earned a reputation for great sanctity. It would take too long to give a detailed description here of the tremendous successes attained by this dauntless man with unexampled rapidity. Notwithstanding all the exertions of the English and Egyptian troops, they could not succeed in checking the rising, and on January 26, 1885, the Mahdi's predatory troops penetrated into the long-besieged city of Khartoum, where a terrible slaughter began. The heroic defender of the city, Gordon Pasha, here met his death. Only in the year 1899 have the English troops succeeded in defeating the Khalifa Abdullah, the successor of the since deceased Mahdi, at the battle of Omdurman, and subsequently the news reached Europe from the Soudan that the Khalifa's army had been annihilated in another battle, and that Abdullah was among the slain. Thus at last has the death of the universally lamented Gordon been avenged, and the Mahdist movement finally quelled, as is hoped. Mighty as were the political disorders brought about by the rising of the Mahdi in the eastern Soudan, the progress of Mohammedanism here has been but small. Mahdism has scarcely spread southward beyond the old limit of the faith. The principal reason for this will probably be found in the fact that the perpetual wars of the Mahdi and his followers scarcely allowed of time for active propaganda, and the blood-thirsty character of the whole movement was not qualified for peaceful progress. It is true that we possess no unprejudiced testimony on the condition of Mohammedanism in those regions, as for the last twenty years the Soudan has been absolutely closed to all Europeans.
Still farther eastward, on the coast of the Indian Ocean, we come upon old Mohammedan territory — the Galla, Somalis, Zanzibaris, etc. In striking contrast to the religious fervor displayed in the Mohammedanizing of west Africa, here there is scarcely any progress to be noted. Only among the inhabitants of Bondei and the Wadigo in German east Africa is an advance in Islamism reported. Notwithstanding, in the East the southern limit of Mohammedanism lies about 15° S. The cause of the want of progress of the Arabian religion may probably be found in the greater indolence of the east African negro tribes. It must also be remembered that this is the region in which the Arabs used to make their slave raids by preference, a circumstance which, as was seen above, has probably hindered the advance of Mohammedanism in the negro regions south of Wadai.
In round numbers, at the present day, the Dark Continent contains 80,000,000 of Mohammedans to about 200,000,000 of inhabitants. “It is hardly too much to say that one-half of the whole of Africa is already dominated by Islam, while, of the remaining half, one-quarter is leavened and another threatened by it.”
These numbers speak for themselves. Mohammedanism is on the way to a total conquest of the Dark Continent. What a tremendous advance in civilization Mohammedanism brings to the negro! Let us hear the eloquent description of R. Bosworth Smith, one of the best judges of the African races : *
* The Nineteenth Century, p. 798 seq.
The worst evils which prevailed at one time over the whole of Africa, and which are still to be found in many parts of it, and those, too, not far from the Gold Coast and from the English settlements - cannibalism and human sacrifice, and the burial of living infants-disappear at once and forever. Natives who have hitherto lived in a state of nakedness, or nearly so, begin to dress, and that neatly; natives who have never washed before begin to wash, and that frequently, for ablutions are commanded in the Sacred Law, and it is an ordinance which does not involve too severe a strain on their natural instincts. The tribal organization tends to give place to something which has a wider basis. In other words, tribes coalesce into nations, and, with the increase of energy and intelligence, nations into empires. Many such instances could be adduced from the history of the Soudan and the adjoining countries during the last hundred years.
Elementary schools, like those described by Mungo Park a century ago, spring up, and even if they only teach their scholars to recite the Koran, they are worth something in themselves, and may be a step to much more. The well-built and neatly kept mosque, with its call to prayer repeated five times a day.
becomes the centre of the village, instead of the ghastly fetish or Juju house. The worship of one God, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, and compassionate, is an immeasurable advance upon anything which the native has been taught to worship before. The Arabic language, in which the Mussulman scriptures are always written, is a language of extraordinary copiousness and beauty; once learned, it becomes a lingua franca to the tribes of half the continent
... Manufactures and commerce spring up, not the mute trading or the elementary bartering of raw products which we know from Herodotus to have existed from the earliest times in Africa, nor the cowrie shells or gunpowder or tobacco or rum, but manufactures involving considerable skill and a commerce which is elaborately organized.
As regards the individual, it is admitted on all hands that Islam gives to its new negro converts an energy, a dignity, a self-reliance, and a self-respect which is all too rarely found in their pagan or their Christian fellow-countrymen.
And, if we inquire the manner in which Mohammedanism attains its almost unexampled successes, we are amazed at the simplicity of its methods. The propaganda takes place without attracting the attention of the world. Islam does not send forth its missionaries into heathen lands, like Christianity, with the prescribed task of inducing the largest number possible to embrace their own faith. The emissaries of Mohammedanism are the travellers, the merchants, who, while engaged in lucrative commercial transactions, implant their civilization and their faith. From the first, the population mistrusts the missionaries sent ad hoc into their midst. They cannot comprehend the object of the coming of the stranger; the people have no confidence in him, and therefore oppose his undertakings. It is otherwise with the Mohammedan merchant; he does not seek to impose his religion upon the people, but wisely waits until they come to him to beg for enlightenment, for it is with nations as with children-what is given them they despise, while they eagerly desire what is apparently withheld from them.
At the same time, the soi-disant Mohanimedan missionaries display far greater tact in the choice of their methods, as they manage to vary these according to the peculiarities of the nations with