Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 6.djvu/72

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the qurʼân

  1. The Qur′ân itself.
  2. ‘Hadîth (pl. ′a‘hâdîth), the ‘traditional’ sayings of the prophet which supplement the Qur′ân, and provide for cases of law or ceremonial observance on which it is silent. They also deal with the life of Mohammed and the circumstances attending the revelations, and are therefore of great use in the exegesis of the Book itself. Although the Muslim authorities have been very strict in the canons laid down for the reception or rejection of these traditions, tracing them from hand to hand up to their original sources, a great deal of uncertainty exists as to the authenticity of many of them. The laws embodied in the traditions are called the Sunnah.
  3. Igmâ′h or the ‘consensus’ of opinion of the highest authorities in the Muslim church upon points concerning which neither the Qur′ân nor the 'Hadîth are explicit.
  4. Qiyâs or ‘Analogy,’ that is, the reasoning of the theological authorities by analogy from the Qur′ân, ‘Hadîth, and Igmâ′h, where anything in any one or more is still left undecided.

The first principle of the Muslim faith is a belief in Allâh, who, as we have seen, was known to the Arabs before Mohammed′s time, and under the title Allâh ta′hâlâ, ‘Allâh the most high,’ was regarded as the chief god of their pantheon. The epithet ta′hâlâ is, properly speaking, a verb meaning ‘be He exalted,’ but is used, as verbs sometimes are in Arabic[1], as an epithet. The name Allâh, ‘God,’ is composed of the article al, ‘the,’ and ilâh, ‘a god,’ and is a very old Semitic word, being connected with the el and elohîm of the Hebrew, and entering into the composition of a large proportion of proper names in Hebrew, Nabathean, and Arabic.

According to Muslim theology, Allâh is eternal and everlasting, one and indivisible, not endued with form, nor circumscribed by limit or measure; comprehending all things, but comprehended of nothing.

  1. See my Arabic Grammar, p. 256.