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of himself, that the Mahometan women are indebted for all the rigours which the Alcoran prescribes them. After the example and according to the precepts of their legisator, the Mussulmen use their wives as some savage Idolaters do their domestic Gods: they load them with presents, shut them up, praise, misuse, and adore them.t
Mahomet has not carried the absurdity, as some writers have accused him, so far as to deny a soul to that sex whom he seemed to love and hate in the same breath. He promises, both to the men and women, punishments and rewards in the world to come. In entering deeply into the fpirit of the Alcoran, we clearly perceive that these pleasures of the senses, of which Mahomet presents such a number of pleasing images, are only the additional felicity of his elect. The sight of him, who bestows all these things, is better than the things themselves, say the devout Mussulmen: to enjoy the presence of God then must be the principle of their felicity. Hell, in the Alcoran, is, by the reason of contraries, a place of physical suffering, described with as much energy as Paradise. But these punishments will
+ Cum viros mulieribus præesse Deo placuit, ut ipfi corrigant eas cum quibus fuam expenderent pecuniam, ipsæque Deum invocent, et maritis pareant, et eorum secreta fibi commiffa celent jus æquum postulat. Quas fi fortè præcepta non observaverint, à vobis correctæ et caftigatæ in domibus lectifve detentæ verberentur, usquequo vestris nutibus atque præceptis pareant. Chap. ix, intituled Azoara de Mula
be eternal, only for those who have not been Mussulmen. The true Believers (it is thus Mac homet terms them) will expiate their crimes by punishments more or less lasting, more or less rigorous; and, after expiations proportionable to their offences, they will enjoy the reward of their faith. .
One of the most effential and most tranfgreffed of Mahoriet's laws is the absolute prohibition to drink wine. Its use was more dangerous in Arabia than any other climate. The Arabians, more susceptible of drunkenness, on account of the heat of their blood, and the strength of the liquor, more fermented than in any other country, abandoned themselves, without reserve, to a pleasure that almost always became fatal. Inebriation would have hurt subordination, the essence of Mahometanism, and that exterior gravity which the prophet required from his followers. Those, who have collected the principal passages of the life of Mahomet, relate, that, as he was passing through a village in Arabia, he saw an assembly of peasants, heated with wine, celebrating a wed. ding; they appeared all in the greatest gaiety and on the best of terms; they laughed, they embraced each other: the joy and concord of these happy people drew the attention of the prophet, who amused himself some time with the fight; but the evening of the same day, as he repassed through the place, he saw the earth covered with blood, and was told that all this gaiety had changed into a quarrels in which several of them had lost their lives, and that these people, fo gay and peaceable, were become irreconcileable enemies. From that instant, they say, Mahomet resolved to forbid the use of wine to all his prosełytes. In order to give more weight to this law, it was necessary to relate abfurdities, which, to the Arabians, were miracles. " 17.
According to the Alcoran, two Angels, des fcended from Heaven on earth, in huinan forms, stopped' at a young beautiful widow's to request of her a retreat. During the repaft, she presented them with wine; they drank of it to such excess, that, forgetting the laws of decency and hospi. tality, they attempted to ravish this woman who had so generously entertained them. The widow, after a long resistance, promised, if they would carry her to Heaven, she would grant every thing on her return. The Angels consented; but, as soon as she was arrived there, the complained to God of the incontinence of these two fots, who, to allay their fire, were condemned to be sufpended by the feet in Hell 'till the last day of judgment, when their penitence is to end. This is but a small sample of the fables of the Alcoran. It was with similar histories, and numerous armies, that so many millions of men, and so many empires, were subjugated.
After the hegira*, that is, after the fight to Medina, Mahomet turned his whole attention to the extending of his law by force of arms. Perplexed with the numerous difficulties which surrounded him, he told his disciples, that he was not come to dispute but to fight; that the power of God, which he announced, ought to be manifested by the courage of his minifters, and by rapid fucceffes. .'
The arms of the prophet were more powerful than his sermons. All his neophytes became foldiers. The hope of a rich booty, or an eternity of delights, foon 'ranged a vast number of people under his standard. The impostor made himself formidable to his countrymen of Mecca. After much blood spilt, and the taking of several towns, the Meechese concluded a truce for ten years, during which the prophet was to have liberty to come unarmed in pilgrimage to their temple. This temple, built, according to an ancient tradition, by Ishmael, was universally revered ; a black stone was particularly venerated there, which the Angels, as they said, had brought white to that edifice, and the sins of inankind had
* This Mahometan epoch begins Friday the 16th of July 622: their year is of twelve lunar months, and has 354 days, 8 hours, 48 minutes ; fo that 33 of our years make 34 of theirs and 6 days. It is this epoch which has rendered Friday the folemn day of the week among the Muffulmen, as Sunday is among the Christians, and Saturday among the Jews. This choice moreover agreed with the usage of the Arabians, who had theis afsemblies ơn that day,
blackened. Though in process of time the temple of Mecca had been filled with idols, Mahomet proclaimed that he was sent, not to. establish a new law, but to reform that which the Idolaters had polluted, and wished to honor more and more this sacred edifice which had been so long revered. He made a pilgrimage thither, and sacrificed sixty-three camels, being the number of years he had lived, which, joined to the thirty-seven sacrificed by Ali, made the number a hundred*. He performed exterior ceremonies there, which became as many precepts for his disciples. He ordered, that every Mussulman should visit the temple of Mecca, at least once in his life. This temple was called the Caaba, which, in Arabic, signifies Square.
The great care which Mahomet took to render Mecca the chief place of his religion, should have convinced its inhabitants that he would neglect nothing to possess himself of it. His arms became more formidable every day; and when he loft a battle, which seldom happened, the prophet attributed the want of success to the sins of his
* Besides the facrifices which the Muffulmen make in their pilgrimage ca Mecca, they make others likewise in expiation and in actions of grace. These sacrifices are generally of sheep by the rich, and of doves by the poor. Mahomet borrowed these ceremonies from the Arabians, or the Jews. But he changed the destination of the sacrificed flesh. Among the Jews it turned to the profit of the priests, or was consumed in honor of the Deity. The Mahometan pilgrims make merry together on the sacrificed flesh in their journey from Mecca, and distribute the surplus to the indigent. In their other facrifices, all the facrificed Aelh is distributed to those who are in want.