Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 6.djvu/25

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introduction.

to tend the sheep and goats of the Meccans, an occupation which, even at the present day, is considered by the Bedawîn as derogatory to the position of a male. Of this part of his life we know but little, for although Muslim historians relate innumerable legends about him, they are for the most part obviously false, and quite unimportant to the real understanding of his life and character.

At the age of twenty-four he was employed by a rich widow, named ‘Hadîgah, to drive the caravans of camels with which she carried on an extensive trade.

So well did Mohammed ingratiate himself with his employer, who was also his kinswoman, that she offered him her hand, and although she was forty years of age and he barely twenty-five, their union was eminently a happy one.

Long after her death his love for ‘Hadîgah remained fresh in Mohammed′s heart; he would never lose an opportunity of extolling her virtues, and would often kill a sheep and distribute its flesh to the poor in honour of her memory.

‘Âyeshah, daughter of Abu Bekr, whom he married three years after ‘Hadîgah′s decease, was in the habit of saying that she was never jealous of any of his wives except ‘the toothless old woman.’

Six children were the issue of this marriage, four girls and two boys; both of the latter died at an early age.

But of this portion of his career, too, we have no authentic information; all that is certain is that he was an honest, upright man, irreproachable in his domestic relations and universally esteemed by his fellow-citizens, who bestowed upon him the sobriquet of El Amin, ‘the trusty.’

Mohammed was a man of middle height, but of commanding presence; rather thin, but with broad shoulders and a wide chest; a massive head, a frank oval face with a clear complexion, restless black eyes, long heavy eyelashes, a prominent aquiline nose, white teeth, and a full thick beard are the principal features of the verbal portraits historians have drawn of him.

He was a man of highly nervous organization, thoughtful,

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