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If the rewards of fidelity are ideal according to sensual standards of pleasure, the punishments of the lost are cruel to the other extreme. The graves of this class are beds of hot coals, where the bones are piled one on another for want of room, and fused at white heat without loss of the sense of feeling. Thirst and hunger, with scourgings, will add the spice of variety to this roasting scene, until the resurrection, when Satan will assume exclusive control and do as he likes with them for ever more.
Here a brief description of Mohammed's utopian journey to paradise would fittingly illustrate some of the singular aspects and ideas of Mohammedanism.
The angel Gabriel appeared to Mohammed with an Alborak, a strange animal--a cross between an ass and a mule. This long eared brute began to talk, demanding some concessions from the new prophet. Having promised the creature a golden stail in heaven, Mohammed was permitted to mount. In the twinkling of an eye he arrived at Jerusalem, where, after a pleasant interview with the patriarchs and prophets of all ages, he ascended, with Gabriel, a ladder from the “city of David” to the “city of God."
As he arrived at the portals of heaven, he saw a large inscription on one side, “There is no God but God," and on the other, “Mohammed is His Apostle.”
The heavenly host being informed that Mohammed had come, at once the pearly gates were thrown wide open, , where entering, he was quickly embraced by great old Adam, who was happy to meet his most illustrious son. From this heaven the stars, which he described as being hollow, round silver balls, were suspended by golden chains. [What would become of faith in Mohammed's visions, if modern science were introduced among his followers!]
Quickly Mohammed was taken from the first to the second heaven-a journey of five hundred years. Here he met the angel of the cocks, who was so tall as to reach from the first to the second heaven. Nearly every morning this big rooster joins God in singing a song that fills the entire universe with its melodious strains. Every being on earth hears them but man. In this heaven he met Noah, the presiding dignitary. He was tendered a most cordia reception as he passed through the golden streets. In the third heaven he describes the angels as being very large; one of the most gigantic required 70,000 days' journey between the eyes. Here, too, he found the same inscription as in the first and second heaven. After a short interview with Moses in the fourth heaven, of emerald construction, he was taken to the fifth to meet Joseph; then to the sixth heaven of carbuncle, where he beheld John the Baptist.
Radiant with light and ruled over by Jesus, was the seventh heaven. He was attended by a vast multitude of joyous inhabitants. Innumerable angels of this heaven were of dazzling beauty. Each one of them possessed 70,000 heads, with 70,000 mouths to each head, and 70,000 tongues to each mouth-all singing and singing day and night everlasting. Here the prophet, with a glorious pomp, was presented to God, whose face was concealed by 70,000 veils. Here, too, on the sides of the divine throne, Mohammed beheld the inscription “There is no God but God," and on the other, “Mohammed is His apostle.” God, after saluting Mohammed, commissioned him to return to earth with full authority.
Charity is prescribed by the Koran for the faithful in two forms-voluntary and compulsory. The latter amounts to the fortieth part of his possessions, but is only imposed when the property aggregates a certain sum. Voluntary charity is usually dispensed at the time of the feast following the annual fast.
The pilgrimage to Mecca is a pious duty. It is believed to bestow certain inestimable privileges to all who can possibly make the trip. Nothing could test faith more than that long and tiresome journey. All the world has heard of the vast concourse there annually assembled from all parts of Asia, Africa and Europe. At that time every highway leading to the sacred Kaaba, becomes a field hospital of the sick and dying. Physicians and nurses are generally wanting, however. When cholera prevails, as it usually does, Mecca becomes the disseminating point for the most fatal of diseases.
Honors are bestowed on the survivors of the hazardous ordeal of this journey, and they are addressed by the title, “Hadji.” Among the Armenians, the same title is applied to those Christians who have visited Jerusalem.
These Christian "Hadjies " usually have a small cross tatooed on the hand, to indicate the fact that they have made the pilgrimage to the Holy Sepulcher.
Mohammed has declared that he will not intercede in heaven for unmarried men. So marry you must, men, or take your chances. Remember Mohammed, old bachelors and old maids, miserable in this world, miserable in the world to come! The Prophet would have them bring up large families, that his followers may outnumber all others in paradise. The widows actually pray, “Let me be married before I die, that I may not be ashamed when I meet Allah!” Allah will reward the parents of children, those who pay the debts of another, and the soldiers in holy
Like other religious institutions, Mohammedanism has its holidays, feast and fast days. The most important of these is Orooj an annual fast last twenty-nine or thirty days, or the entire month of Ramazan. The fast cannot begin until the new moon has been seen. In cloudy weather messengers are sent to the peaks of mountains, and there ascertain the appearance of the new moon. The Sultan telegraphs to all parts of the empire for the fast to begin. Local announcement is made by the firing of cannon at sunrise. During the daytime, for a month, Mohammedans abstain from eating, drinking, smoking, and some go so far as to talk very little, for fear they may take too much air into their mouths, and thus break their fast, in which case they would have to keep the sixty subsequent days.
Even the touch of a Christian is avoided during Ramazan. As every physical enjoyment is proscribed but sleep, devotees sleep nearly all day, except when at worship. “Blessed be the man who first invented sleep!” Those wandering in the street are like mad-men, so Christians had better keep out of their way. The asking of questions by "infidel dogs” is promptly rebuked. The law is paralyzed. The fact that they have all been fasting is a sufficient excuse for all sorts of wicked performances. Business is at a standstill. Fanaticism has full sway.
At home, on the day of Ramazan, toward evening, with food prepared, all await the signal cannon. At sunset minarets are illuminated, the cannon is fired, and at the muezzin's call from the slender spires, the fasting is suddenly changed into feasting. Night is virtually turned into day. There is a hasty scramble for something to eat, excessive eating, dancing, singing, continue until the latter part of the night. This fast and feast is held in honor of the time when Mohammed claimed that God revealed the Koran to him. Moslems believed that Abraham, Moses and Jesus also received divine revelations during this month.
There are many who attribute this celebration to another event. One day when Mohammed was wandering in the desert, one of his camels fled. Poor Mohammed pursued all day without eating or drinking, and captured it about sunset. Mohammedans are not certain which day