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being a voluntary act, many find means to evade it, though in general the Muffulmen are very charitable. .. :

Mahomet foon made proselytės of these lovers of novelty, who knew very little of the religion of their forefathers. Many Christians of Medina took the oaths to him, as the envoy of God and their lawful sovereign. From that time the impostor determined on uniting the priesthood and the empire'; he thought, with reafon, that the two swords would have more force in the fame hand. The blind zeal with which his followers devoted themselves to kim raifed up the hatred of the Mecchefe, who faw, with terror, a monarchy raising among them on the foundation of fanaticism : they attempted the life of Mahomet, become too powerful to be punished as a common criminal; the prophet's house was invested; he Aed, leaving Ati, his cousin and one of his first disciples, in the chamber where the Mecchese thought to take him. '

Several parties pursued the prophet from Mecca. Being hidden in a cavern on the Medina road, he pretended afterward to have escaped by a miracle the search of his enemies. Tradition fays, that in the middle of a thick old forest, trees sprang up all of a sudden from the earth, to spread their branches over the entrance of the prophet's retreat; that spiders webs, hanging from these trees, persuaded' his pursuers,

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without doubt negligent or credulous, that no one had passed that way for a long time. This was the prodigy which the impostor thought to oppofe to those who demanded supernatural proofs of his mission; but he soon found means to provide himself with more convincing ones. His party increased at Medina; he reduced by force of arms this town, in which at first he had seemed to ask only a place of shelter; he exacted from his proselytes a folemn oath, to spread by fire and sword the Mussulman faith, or Islamism; this word signifies in Arabic, the true faith. ..

Mahomet, being established in Medina, built a mosque,* and made a regular form of worship. He explained his law himself, and said public prayers every day. After having fought the Arabians without the city, who were united in troops against him, and given the example of carnage against caravans, which he lay wait for near the walls of Medina, he returned into the mosque, blessed the people with his bloody hands and exhorted them to massacre Infidels, in order to offer agreeable sacrifices to God. Two dogmas, often repeated by Mahomet, contributed to render his soldiers formidable. First, no one, according to the Alcoran, can escape his destiny ;


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* This is the name which Mahomet gave his temples. ỹ The public prayers are said before fun-rising, and after sun-set. Two others may be said apart, at noon, and before fun-set, and a third is the night, before the first watch.

all predestination is inevitable; and the man, whose days are not complete, will receive unhurt a shower of arrows from a whole army: when he, whose fatal term is arrived, shall never escape death by any precaution whatsoever : thus, the true Muffulmen abufe the principle of God's prescience, and don't think themselvès in more danger in the most bloody battle, than at an entertainment, or in their beds. Their second incitement to courage is the folemn promise of the prophet, that those, who are killed fighting against the Infidels, shall be martyrs, and admitted into the Paradise of delights, whatever crimes they may have committed. Men strongly prepossessed with such errors must needs be invincible. Mahomet's successors profited infinitely more than their prophet by this fanguinary enthusiasm, which raised ferocious foldiers to the rank of apostles and martyrs, and compelled all those that were deaf to persuasion.

Mahomet had lost his wife, before he left Mecca. He married his only remaining daugh- . ter by his dear. Cadisja to his cousin Ali. She was called Fatima. It is from her this numerous posterity of men is descended who are all called emirs, and who, in the Mahometan countries, have alone the privilege of wearing green turbans, as descendants of the prophet. After the death of Cadisja, Mahomet's passion for women appeared without constraint. He first married



Aiesa, the daughter of Abubeker, one of his first disciples, and who was his immediate successor, Aiesa was as yet but a child : nature is excessively forward in the burning Arabia, particularly in respect to puberty. Mahomet did not consummate his marriage 'till a year after, when Aiesa had ats tained her ninth year; and, before that period, the prophet took a great liking to the wife of Zeid, formerly his flave, and since his adopted fon.

This circumstance rendered Mahomet's, proceedings incestuous in the eyes of the Arabians, who considered the laws of adoption as facred as those of nature, and abhorred incest greatly. The impostor procured from Heaven a chapter of the Alcoran, which consecrated this crime. Zeid repudiated his wife with joy; he loved, he respected Mahomet, beyond every other consideration. The false prophet made use of the authority of the Alcoran to have publicly fifteen wives at a time, though he allowed his followers but four.* The author of the law knew how to


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* The rigid Muffulmen take only four wives or female slaves; others take four lawful wives, and as many female slaves as their fortunes will support. Nevertheless, the major part have but one wife, owing to the difficulty of maintaining a greater number. Divorces, though allowed the Mussulmen, are rather uncommon on account of the conditions prescribed by the Maho. metan laws. They may repudiate their wives, and take them again, as often as three times; but the third time, they must marry another man, Neep with him, and be repudiated, before they return to their first husband. When che repudiated wife is not guilty of incontinency, her husband restores


form it to his weaknesses : that which Mahomet had all his life time for the fair-sex can only be equalled by his ambition. Not contented with such a number of wives, he could not resist the fight of several fine faves that his proselytes brought him from all parts, or that he took in war. Having been caught with a young female captive by two of his wives; in order to stifle their reproaches, he inserted in his Alcoran a permission for eyery Muffulman to make use of his slaves.

This inconstant husband was not secure from a sort of vengeance which his conduct seemed to authorise from his irritated wives. Aiesa, whom he loved beyond all the rest, was caught in adultery. The haughty prophet, every way sensible

of the affront, was not at a lots how to conceal sit: he had again recourse to the voice of God.

The Alcoran declared Aiesa innocent; but, to prevent in future even the suspicion of such a crime, another chapter forbade all the Muffulmen, especially the prophet's friends, ever to speak to his wives, or to stop in his house, either after repaft, or in his absence. It is principally owing to the conduct of Aiesa, the jealoufy of Mahomet, and his contempt for a sex to whom his passions made him submit in spite


her portion to her, and is obliged to give her a dower. When it is the wife who requires the divorce, on account of impotency, bad treatment, or the refusal of conjugal devoirs, she loses her dower. The children born of lawful wives, or of concubines, are equally legitimate, and inherit all the fame. The girls however have only half the portion of the boys.

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