Page:Early Christianity in Arabia.djvu/195

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whom he had injured. The king of Ghassan was unwilling to submit to either; he fled to Constantinople, again turned Christian, and remained so to the end of his days. "May God," says the Moslem historian, "preserve us from so great a misfortune, and from a crime so enormous."[1]

The Arabians boast that the embassy of Muhammed was received with favour by Heraclius, who was then at Emessa, or Hems, on his return from his Persian expedition; they even assert that in secret he had embraced the faith of the prophet.[2] The Christian writers assure us that the emperor was personalty visited by Muhammed, and that he granted him a district of land on the borders of Syria.[3] This parade of his peaceful intentions was not, however, long kept up. The murder of the Muhummedan ambassador to the governor of Bostra by Sherheil al Mutar, a Christian chief of the district of Balka, afforded a plausible pretext for hostilities. Three thousand Moslems invaded the Syrian territories of Rome to revenge the insult, and ad-

    shewn that Muhammed transmitted to his posterity the same identical laws and modes of administration of justice as were in use among the pagan Arabs. See also the authorities he cites. The lex talionis is one instance.

  1. Al Jannabi, ap. Gagn. tom. ii. p. 71. Rasmussen, Hist. Præcep. Arab. Regn. p. 46. Eichhorn, Monument. Antiq. Arab. p. 170.
  2. Gagnier, pp. 34, 36.
  3. Euthymius, p. 552 (in the Bib. Vet. Patr.). Zonaras, tom. ii. p. 86.