Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 6.djvu/67

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introduction.

period. In it Mohammed bids the Qurâis ‘serve the Lord of this House,’ for the two trading caravans they yearly sent out in winter and summer respectively.

In the Meccan Sûrahs Mohammed′s one and steady purpose is to bring his hearers to a belief in the one only God; this he does by powerful rhetorical displays rather than logical arguments, by appealing to their feelings rather than their reason; by setting forth the manifestations of God in his works; by calling nature to witness to His presence; and by proclaiming His vengeance against those who associate other gods with Him, or attribute offspring to Him. The appeal was strengthened by glowing pictures of the happiness in store for those who should believe, and by frightful descriptions of the everlasting torments prepared for the unbelievers.

The short Surah entitled ‘Unity’ is said, on the traditional authority of Mohammed himself, to be equivalent in value to two-thirds of the Qur′ân.

‘Say, “He is God, one God the eternal. He begets not, and is not begotten; nor is there like unto Him, one.”’

This protest is not aimed at the Christian doctrines alone, for the Arab, as we have seen, asserted that their angels and deities were daughters of Allâh, the supreme God.

In the earlier chapters, too, the prophetic inspiration, the earnest conviction of the truth of his mission, and the violent emotion which his sense of responsibility caused him are plainly shown.

The style is curt, grand, and often almost sublime; the expressions are full of poetical feeling, and the thoughts are earnest and passionate, though sometimes dim and confused, indicating the mental excitement and doubt through which they struggled to light.

In the second period of the Meccan Surahs, Mohammed appears to have conceived the idea of still further severing himself from the idolatry of his compatriots, and of giving to the supreme deity Allâh another title, Ar-Ra‘hmân, ‘the merciful one.’

The Meccans, however, seem to have taken these for