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|ISLAM: A CHALLENGE TO FAITH|
A CHALLENGE TO FAITH
STUDIES ON THE MOHAMMEDAN RELIGION AND THE NEEDS AND OPPORTUNITIES OF THE MOHAMMEDAN WORLD FROM THE STANDPOINT OF CHRISTIAN MISSIONS
SAMUEL M. ZWEMER, F.R.G.S.
SECRETARY, STUDENT VOLUNTEER MOVEMENT
MISSIONARY IN ARABIA
SECOND REVISED EDITION
STUDENT VOLUNTEER MOVEMENT
FOR FOREIGN MISSIONS
THE COURT OF THE UNIVERSITY MOSQUE EL AZHAR, CAIRO
To complete a course in the Azhar requires about twelve years. The curriculum includes jurisprudence, theology, exegesis, grammar, syntax, rhetoric, logic and the traditions; it has 10,000 students in attendance and 250 professors.
Copyright, 1907, by
STUDENT VOLUNTEER MOVEMENT
FOR FOREIGN MISSIONS
TO MY WIFE
Συγκοινωνή μου ἐν τῇ θλίψει καί ἐν τῇ
βασιλείᾳ καί υπομονῇ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ 
"There are comparative religions, but Christianity is not one of them."—Joseph Parker.
"To talk, as some do, as if the religion of the prophet of Arabia were well suited to the Semites, or to the Mogul and Turkish races, or, again, to the Negro, is merely to show oneself culpably ignorant at once of human nature, of Christian truth, and even of Islam itself. Such platitudes will never satisfy anyone who has at heart the highest interests of his fellowmen.
"Just as was the case at Rome at the close of one of the great æons in the world's history, so now among ourselves there are men, priding themselves on their enlightenment and liberality of sentiment, who—as their prototypes worshipped Isis and Serapis, or, again, followed Epicurus or Plato, according as the varying fashion of the day might impel them—are ready to call themselves now Agnostics, now Buddhists, and now Mohammedans, as the fancy may strike them. Such men may, perhaps, bolster up Islam for a time, and thus, for a time, retard its inevitable downfall. But, in spite of their utmost efforts, the true nature of this religious system will become generally known, and will then be seen to be indefensible. Mohammed is, in every way, unfitted to be the ideal of a single human being. In spite, therefore, of its many half-truths borrowed from other systems, it is not too much to say that Islam has preserved, in the life and character of its founder, an enduring and ever active principle of degradation and decay."—W. St. Clair Tisdall.
The churches of Christendom are at last awaking to the fact that one of the great unsolved missionary problems of the Twentieth Century is the evangelization of the Mohammedan world. The Cairo Conference reports, the organization of new missionary societies for work among Moslems, and the recent alarming reports concerning a Moslem peril in West Africa and the Soudan, together carry this message to the churches and the student-world of Christendom. The Cairo Conference appeal, voicing the opinion of many leading missionaries from every Moslem land, was primarily a call for trained men from the universities and professional schools. And this appeal, in the words of Mr. John R. Mott, "has laid upon students as never before the responsibility of reaching the Mohammedan world."
But if we are to reach that world with the gospel of Christ we must first know of it and know it. There is no lack of literature on Mohammed and Islam, as is evident from the very extensive bibliography of the subject in all the languages of Europe, not to speak of the literature written by Moslems themselves. But at the same time there is great ignorance even among cultured people of the true character of Mohammed and the real doctrine and moral value of Islam, as well as of its widespread aggressive power as a missionary religion. To present the subject anew, therefore, needs no apology, especially
since much of the best literature on Islam is inaccessible to most readers, being in a foreign language.
This book lays no claim to originality save in the form in which the results of the labors of others in this wide field are presented. The bibliographies given for each chapter show the sources of information. The purpose of the book is to present Islam as a challenge to the faith and enterprise of the church. It has a message for those who believe the Gospel and believe that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth—to the Mohammedan no less than to others of the non-Christian world.
Its argument, following the order of the chapters, can be expressed in a single sentence: Islam, the greatest of all the non-Christian religions is not of divine but of human origin (I and II), altho so widely extended (III), and it is inadequate, in spite of much that is true and good, to meet man's needs intellectually (IV), spiritually (V), or morally (VI), as proved by its own history (VII); therefore the present condition of Moslem lands, with their unprecedented opportunities and crises (VIII), and the work already accomplished (IX and X), are a challenge to evangelize the whole Mohammedan world in this generation (XI and XII).
Whether the facts presented and the authorities given prove the truth of the argument is left to the candid judgment of the reader.
S. M. ZWEMER.
NEW YORK, October, 1907.
After further investigation and practical use of the book in study classes, this edition appears, brought up to date especially in reference to current literature and the bibliography.
S. M. Z.
THE ORGIN AND SOURCES OF ISLAM
Importance of the Subject.—To the statesman and the Christian—Why was Islam triumphant?—The condition of Arabia before Islam—Civilization.
Pagan Arabia.—The tribes—The trade routes—The political situation—Roman rule in Mecca.
Social Conditions.—The position of women—chivalry—polygamy and marriage —Islam no improvement.
Pre-Islamic Literature.—The poets—Okatz—The science of writing and its materials.
Arabian Polytheism.—Shahristani's testimony—The various religions of Arabia —Sacred places—Sacrifices—The gods—Allah—General decadence of old religions—Reasons for it.
The Jews of Arabia.—Origin—Their colonies and location—How Mohammed could borrow from them—Their legends and stories—How much Islam owes them.
Christianity in Arabia Before Islam.—When did it enter?—Early diffusion—Monks—Simon Stylites—The Christians of Yemen—Bishoprics—The martyrs of Nejran—Abraha and his expedition against Mecca—Arabian Christianity—Mohammed not ignorant of Christianity—But he lacked sympathy.
The Hanifs—Their name and beliefs—Examples—One of them becomes a Christian.
Islam a Composite Religion.—Mohammed the genius who collected the material and put new life into the old faiths. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 1
MOHAMMED, THE PROPHET OF ISLAM
Introductory.—Mohammed's birth, his name and the reasons for his wide influence—What a believing Moslem thinks of it.
A Moslem Portrait.—Kamal-ud-Din Ad-Damiri and his book—The pen-portrait of a perfect man—What Aisha and Ali said in regard to his life, character and death.
The factors in Mohammed’s Life.—His environment—The four chief factors—(I) Political factor—The time in which he lived—(2) Religious factor—The Hanifs—(3) The family factor—Power of the Koreish—(4) The genius of Mohammed—Khadijah's influence.
The First Period of His Life.—Date of birth—Sent out to be nursed—The orphan boy's plaint—His first journey—A shepherd—His mercantile expedition and marriage—First revelations—Early converts—Persecution—Flight of converts to Abyssinia—Death of Khadijah—Akaba—The Flight to Medina.
The Second Period.—Change of circumstances and mission—Hostilities against Koreish—Bedr—Its cruelty—Ohod—War against the Jews—Zainab—The campaign of Khaibar—First pilgrimage—Entrance into Mecca—Other expeditions and revolts—Last days—Death of Mohammed.
Personal Appearance.—Height—Complexion—Beard—Commanding presence —Clarke's reference.
His Character.—A problem of history—Various opinions—The theory of two periods in his life and character—Sprenger's remarks on his epileptic fits—His comparison of Mohammed's career to Goethe's Faust—The question of Mohammed's moral character—The three standards—Mohammed, in the light of the New Testament—The prophet and the pagan code of morals—Margoliouth's opinion of early Moslem morality—Mohammed and his own law—His relation to women—The superabounding sensuality of Mohammed—The sources of our information all Moslem, and therefore in Mohammed's favor.
The Apotheosis of Mohammed.—How the portrait of history became idealized—Mohammed's titles—His honor—Place in Heaven—Use of his name—Man made in its image—He holds the keys of Heaven—Is a mediator—The story of the wicked Jew.
The Coronation Hymn of Islam.—El Burda—Editions and translations—The author—Story of its composition—Contents—Character—Influence—Source—Object—Was Mohammed a Beacon light?—Mohammed as an example, and his influence.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 29
THE SPREAD OF ISLAM
Islam a Missionary Religion.—Max Muller's classification—A missionary faith from the beginning—Rapid spread—Extent today—Its conquest of North Afriea—Akba's challenge.
Three Periods of Conquest.—The days of the caliphs—Worldly motives in the spread of Islam—More recent advances under the Turks, Moguls and in the present century.
Arabia and Syria.—The apostles of the sword—Revolt of the
Arab tribes after Mohammed's death.—Khalid's campaigns—Arabia subdued—Syria—Chaldea—The failure of Islam in converting the Christians.
Africa.—Three periods of conquest—Egypt invaded—Tripoli—Morocco—Three streams of immigration—Islam in Abyssinia—It crosses the Sahara—Sokoto—Abdul Kadir—The Mandi—The Senusi derwishes—Their power and strongholds.
Europe.—Islam enters Spain—Italy—The Ottoman Turks in Europe—Physical reasons for limit of northern conquest—Arnold's account.
Persia and Central Asia.—Battle of Nehavend—Conquest of Persia—Significance for Islam—Bokhara and Turkestan—Present condition—The testimony of a missionary.
China.—An example of propagation without the sword—Early commercial intercourse with Arabia—Wahab bin Kabsha—Moslems in Canton—Arab settlements—Character of Islam in China—Present extent and growth—Method of propaganda—Will China become Moslem?
India.—Its large Moslem population—How Islam entered—Condition of India in the eighth century—The first invasion—Sindh conquered—Examples of butchery—The invasion from the North in the tenth century—Mahmud, the idol-breaker—Mohammed Baktiyar—The Mogul emperors—Islam in Southern India—Result of conquest.
The Malay Archipelago.—Sumatra—The Moluccas—The Philippines as an example of how Islam won its way—Meccan pilgrims in Sumatra—Islam in Java—The Mohammedan peril—A lost opportunity—Islam made its conquest unchallenged.
Islam Our Example.—In zeal for the faith—Their preaching and fighting—Mohammed's saying—Contrast of Moslem propoganda with Christian—Present-day methods—In Africa—The Moslem sword and ours—We should do more than they. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 55
THE FAITH OF ISLAM
Scope of the chapter.—The relation of Moslem faith to practice—The six articles of their creed—Sources of this belief.
The Moslem Idea of God.—His Unity—His character—The opinion of Hauri—Of James Freeman Clarke—How distinguished from Judaic and Christian monotheism.
The Doctrine of Angels.—Three species of spiritual beings: Angels—Classification—The four archangels—Recording angels—Avenging angels—Guardian angels.
Jinn—Their nature, power, abode—Cause of superstitions.
The devils—Harut and Marut.
The Books of God—Number—Classification—Condition. The Koran—its size—Chapters—Beauty—Specimen verses—Contents —Its defects.
The Prophets of God.—Their number—The six major prophets, or apostles—The minor prophets—Mohammed, according to history and tradition—Jesus Christ—His birth, miracles, ascension—His return and death.
The Day of Judgment.—Resurrection—Paradise—Hell—Signs of the last day.
Predestination.—Nature and practical effect of this belief—Omar Khayyam's quatrain—How distinguished from Christian teaching. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 85
THE RITUAL OF ISLAM
Introductory.—The roots and the branches of Islam—The five pillars of religion—All based on tradition, as well as on the Koran.
Tradition.—Immense number of traditions—Authenticity—A specimen tradition—How handed down—How regarded—The five duties:
Confession of the Creed.—Its brevity—Its value—Frequency of its use—How it must be repeated—Its effect on the spread of Islam.
Prayer.—Moslem prayer distinguished from Christian prayer—Prayer must be in Arabic—Posture in prayer—A praying-compass.—Purification as a preliminary to prayer—The use of the toothbrush—Ablutions—Moral purity—The proper times for prayer—The contents of a prayer—Special prayers—Vain repetitions—The call to prayer.
The Month of Fasting.—Origin—Importance—Ramazan—Duration of fast—Its character—Its strictness—Who are exempt—Other fasts.
Legal Alms.—Origin of term used—Rate of these alms—Total—On whom bestowed—The wonderful hospitality of Mohammed and his followers.
The Pilgrimage.—Its influence on Islam—Number of annual pilgrims to Mecca—Route—Summary of the ceremonies—Circumambulation of the Kaaba—The prayer—The stoning—The sacrifice—The veneration of the Black Stone.
The Kaaba and Its Black Stone.—Legend of its origin—Shape and dimensions—The Mosque—Other objects of interest—Early stone-worship in Arabia—The Black Stone an aerolite—On whom the pilgrimage is incumbent—Other places of pilgrimage—Condition of the Sacred Cities.