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whom they have to deal. They bring civilization to the African savages. They found cities and populate them with Mohammedan colonists, whom they transport from other districts; so, for instance, they took advantage of the great famine which threatened to depopulate the land of the Wanyikas on the Zanzibar coast to display Islamism as the religion of love and beneficent actions. They also occasionally win new followers to their faith by liberating them from the bonds of slavery. Thus, the founder of the Senussi order once purchased a whole caravan of slaves, chiefly natives of Wadai, and had them instructed individually in the faith of Islam. He then gave them their freedom and sent them back to their own country. These converts naturally gained crowds of new followers to the faith.
On the whole, Mohammedanism shows a marvellous adaptability. Where Mohammedans find an ancient civilization, as, for example, in China, they avoid either wounding or provoking those of a different belief, and manage to adapt religious ordinances to old customs; they include the old feasts in their calendar, and take an active share in all the doings of their fellow-citizens of a different faith. Their tact is also shown by small concessions in external arrangements. In China, for instance, they are careful not to build their mosques higher than the other temples, and therefore the mosques are not adorned with minarets in that country. By the power of their eloquence
their preachers have brought it to pass that in China, even in government circles, Mohammedanism is regarded as uniting the best points of Confucianism and Buddhism. One of their chief methods of propaganda is the school, as has been remarked above. Here they educate future generations in their own views.
The main reason for the great successes of Mohammedanism, especially among the uncivilized heathen of Africa, consists in the great simplicity of the religion in question. There is no God but God,” and “Mohammed is the Prophet of God.” The convert need only believe these two sentences, and he is at once a Mussulman. After learning this simple confession of faith, he then needs only to fulfil the following five practical duties: (1) Recital of the creed; (2) Observance of the five appointed times of prayer; (3) Payment of the legal alms; (4) Fasting during the month of Ramadhan; and (5) The pilgrimage to Mecca.
And every convert has equal rights with all other members of the great community. In regard to the faith there are no distinctions; for did not even the Nubian, Muhammed Ahmed, rise to be the Mahdi, the Messiah of the Mohammedans?
But not only externally, in the number of the faithful and in the magnitude of the territory under its influence, has Mohammedanism considerably increased, but it has undergone a kind of regenerating process in its inner life, at least in certain important localities, which promise to supply it with new strength for the struggles of the coming century.
Mention has been made already of the strong influence produced by the reformatory movement of the Wahhabis upon the inner life of Mohammedanism. Almost innumerable are the recently founded brotherhoods at work in Mohammedan territory in the Wahhabite tradition, either by the power of word, example, or by the might of the sword, or even by the union of both, as shown by the example of the powerful Danfodio. And when anywhere, from whatever reasons, an insurrection takes place against the authority of the state, the movement always arises from ideas of reform, generally from a puritanical point of view. If the leaders of these movements have no such motives, and should they only be striving for personal power, they still cloak their anbitious ends with the pretext of holy zeal for the faith, as was done by the adventurer Rabah, the all-powerful ruler of Wadai from 1890 till his death in 1897. The reformer who preaches against luxury and externality of belief is always sure of gaining a hold on the masses. But that these reformatory ideas, which are springing up on every hand on Mohammedan territory, should really produce a revival of the religious life, is shown again by the increase of the many religious orders, which can be statistically proved.
Even among the usually skeptical Persians a movement full of true religious enthusiasm, the so-called Babism, has gained a large number of devoted followers. The tenets of Bab, the founder of this sect, who died as a martyr for his creed in the year 1850, are closely akin to the doctrines of Christianity. “All men are our brothers, therefore let us do good to all, as the sun shines upon good and evil alike.” Only such an intensifying of the Mohammedan creed could have the effect of raising the inwardly degenerate Persians to the rank among the Mussulmans which is due to their exceptional mental gifts.
That which holy enthusiasm for religion is striving to effect from within is being brought into the life of Islamism from without. It was mentioned at the beginning of this article that the encounter between Mohammedanism and Western civilization could not fail to produce an effect upon the former. But the powers that had slumbered in Mohammedanism for so many years did not come to life merely in the form of a conscious reaction against foreign ideas. The many advantages of modern culture, the technical knowledge of our century, were too apparent to be denied by the more reasonable of the Mohammedans. They began to realize that, if they desired to oppose the West, it could only be done with the help of the weapons of Western civilization; that they must learn from the Frengis, the Europeans. One of the most enlightened Mussulmans of our century, Muhammed Ali, the founder of modern Egypt, deserves to be especially mentioned here. As Danfodio and the Mahdi strove to spread the holy faith with fire and sword, so Muhammed Ali's reformatory activity in Egypt is of lasting value to the further development of enlightened Mohammedanismi. These three men may indeed be taken as typical specimens of the different forms of activity shown by Islamism in the nineteenth century. Muhammed Ali came to Egypt as a simple Turkish captain, and by means of his remarkable gifts, his mental superiority, and utterly untiring energy, often indeed united with barbarity, he contrived in a few years to make himself master of the country, and finally to shake off the intolerable yoke of Turkey. He had learned to value the advantages of Western culture, and everywhere, in his government, in the organization of the army, in the care for commerce, in sanitary provisions, in the administration of justice, we see him earnest in introducing European ideas. It was he who, rightly appreciating the influence of the press on the people, started an Egyptian newspaper, the first in the Mohanimedan Orient (1828). The recognition of the utility of European civilization has slowly but surely made its way, and it is worthy of notice that in most cases the Mussulman becomes no mere outward imitator of the Frengi, but manages to preserve his individuality, even while he takes the good as he finds it.