Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 6.djvu/58

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the qurʼân

was then prevalent in Arabia, and which was the only one with which Mohammed was acquainted. With the Arab Christian, the Trinity meant nothing more nor less than tritheism, and these three the Father, Virgin-Mother, and Son.

The doctrine of the unity of God, as preached by Mohammed, was a protest against the dualism of Persia as well as the degenerate Christianity of the time and the polytheism of the Arabs who were his contemporaries. Thus the Chapter of Cattle () commences with the words, 'Praise belongs to God who created the heavens and the earth, and brought into being the darkness and the light,' which negatives the Manichæan theory that the two principles of light and darkness were uncreate and eternal, and by their admixture or antagonism gave birth to the material universe.

As for the angelism and demonology of the Qurʼân, they are a mixture of local superstitions, Persian and Jewish tradition. The system was certainly not due to Mohammed’s invention, but was evolved out of what he had heard from Jewish, Christian, and other sources, and regarded as revelation, and coloured by his individual local beliefs.

It is a curious thing that the rite of circumcision is not mentioned in the Qurʼân; but there is no doubt that Mohammed insisted upon it as a compromise for more cruel and dangerous practices[1].

The Qurʼân itself is not a formal and consistent code either of morals, laws, or ceremonies.

Revealed 'piecemeal,' particular passages being often promulgated to decide particular cases, it cannot fail to contain many things that are at variance with, or flatly contradict others.

It has, however, a certain unity notwithstanding; for Mohammed had his doctrine of the unity of God, according to the ʿHanîfite conception, always before his mind: he had the immemorial customs of his country and their tribal

  1. See note to vol. ⅱ, p. 110, of Burton’s 'Pilgrimage to El Medina and Mecca.'