Page:The Perfumed Garden - Burton - 1886.djvu/28

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The Perfumed Garden

He derided the chapter headed "the Elephant,"[1] saying, "In this chapter of the Elephant I see the elephant. What is the elephant? What does it mean? What is this quadruped? It has a tail and a long trunk. Surely it is a creation of our God, the magnificent."

The chapter of the Koran named the Kouter[2] is also an object of his controversy. He said, "We have given you precious stones for yourself, and in preference to any other man, but take care not to be proud of them."

Mocailama had thus perverted sundry chapters in the Koran by his lies and impostures.

He had been at this work when he heard the Prophet (the salutation and mercy of God be with him) spoken of. He heard that after he had placed his venerable hands upon a bald head, the hair had forthwith sprung up again; that when he spat into a pit, the water came in abundantly, and that the dirty water turned at once clean and good for drinking; that when he spat into an eye that was blind or obscure, the sight was at once restored to it, and when he placed his hands upon the head of a child, saying, "Live for a century," the child lived to be a hundred years old.

When the disciples of Mocailama saw these things or

  1. There is in fact a chapter of the Koran with the heading "The Elephant." This chapter, the 105th, originated with a victory of the Prophet over an Ethiopian prince; the white Elephant, on which the prince was mounted, having knelt down as a sign of adoration at the sight of Mecca. Hence the name of the chapter, which perpetuates the name of this victory. It was this name that Mocailama tries to turn into ridicule, by pretending to see only the name of an animal, and not to understand its real sense.
  2. The title of Chapter 108 of the Koran, "el Kouter," signifies "generosity," "liberality." Mocailama pretended in his controversy that all the articles which the first verse of the chapter declares to have been given to Mohammed had been previously placed at his disposition, so that he might reserve for himself the best.