Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 6.djvu/50

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the qurʼân

standard of revolt, and the repression of these insurrections occupied much of his time and attention during the last years of his life. With true political sagacity he saw that the only way to prevent the newly established kingdom from becoming hopelessly disintegrated was to give its members some common interest and ambition. For this reason he never relinquished his designs upon Syria, where the turbulent tribes might find scope for their warlike propensities, and where a rich booty might be gained. It was to this common bond of unity, the desire for plunder and the love of making border raids, as much as to the religious idea, that the triumph of El Islâm was due.

In March, 632 A.D., he made his last pilgrimage to Mecca, the 'Farewell Pilgrimage,' as Muslims call it, and standing upon Mount Arafat he addressed the assembled multitude,—more than forty thousand of pilgrims,—bade them stand firm by the faith that he had taught them, and called God to witness that he had delivered his message and fulfilled his mission.

In June he fell sick, and himself perceived that his end was drawing nigh.

On Monday, June 8, feeling better, he went to the Mosque of Medînah, where Abu Bekr was conducting the prayers before a crowded congregation who had flocked there to hear news of the prophet. Mohammed’s entry was quite unexpected, but in spite of the weakness evident from his faltering gait, his countenance was bright, and his voice as clear and commanding as ever. Mounting the lower steps of the pulpit he said a few last words to the people, and having given some parting injunctions to Osâma, whom he had entrusted with the command of an army to Syria, Mohammed returned to his house and lay down to rest in ʿÂyesha’s chamber. Here, resting his head upon her bosom, the prophet of Arabia fell asleep.

The question naturally arises, how could a comparatively obscure citizen of a small Arabian town bring about results of such magnitude as Mohammed undoubtedly did?

The secret of his success was, primarily, enthusiasm com-