Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 6.djvu/33

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introduction.

posed to Mohammed that he should recognise the divinity of these three deities, and promised in their turn that they would then acknowledge him to be the Apostle of Allah.

One day, therefore, he recited before an assembly of the Qurâis the words of the Qurʼân, Chapter ⅬⅢ, vers. 19, 20, and when he came to the words, ‘ Have ye considered Allât and Al ʼHuzzâ and Manât the other third? he added, ‘ They are the two high-soaring cranes, and, verily, their intercession may be hoped for! When he came to the last words of the chapter, ‘ Adore God then and worship! the Meccans prostrated themselves to the ground and worshipped as they were bidden.

A great political triumph was achieved, the proud and mocking Meccans had acknowledged the truth of the revelations, the city was converted, Mohammed’s dream was realised, and he was himself the recognised Apostle of God!

But at what a sacrifice! politically he had gained the position at which he aimed, but it was at the expense of his honesty and his conviction; he had belied and stultified the very doctrine for which he and his had suffered so much. The delusion did not last long ; and on the morrow he hastened to recant in the most uncompromising manner, and declared, no doubt with the fullest belief in the truth of what he was saying, that Satan had put the blasphemous words in his mouth. The passage was recited afresh, and this time it read: ‘ Have ye considered Allât and Al ʼHuzzâ and Manât the other third? Shall there be male offspring for Him and female for you? That, then, were an unfair division! They are but names which ye have named, ye and your fathers! God has sent down no authority for them! Ye do but follow suspicion and what your souls lust after! And yet there has come to them guidance from their Lord!

This incident is denied by many of the Muslim writers, but not only are the most trustworthy histories very explicit on the subject, but it is proved by the collateral evidence that some of the exiles returned from Abyssinia