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By Mohammedan Conversion is not here meant conversion from Christianity to Mohammedanism, or vice versa, but those spiritual crises which take place within Mohammedanism, as within Christianity, by which the soul is stung as with a regenerating shudder to use George Eliot’s phrase, to rise from a notional to a real belief in God. Mohammedan theologians are as aware of this distinction as Christian ones. Thus Al Ghazzali, in his Revival of the Religious Sciences, is very sarcastic on the indulgence in the common expletive, “We take refuge in God,” by Mohammedans without attaching any real meaning to it. He says: “If you see a lion coming towards you, and there is a fort close by, you do not stand exclaiming, ‘I take refuge in this fort!’ but you get into it. Similarly, when you hear of the wrath to come, do not merely say, ‘I take refuge in God,’ but take refuge in Him.”

This transformation of a notional into a real belief has proved the crisis in the lives of many of the saints and mystics of Islam, without, as far as it appears, any contact on their part with Christianity. Thus, Ibn Khalliqan, in his great Biographical Dictionary, tells of Al-Fudail, a celebrated highwayman, who, one night, while he was on his way to an immoral assignation, was arrested by the voice of a Koran-reader chanting the verse, “Is not the time yet come unto those who believe, that their hearts should humbly submit to the admonition of God?” On this he exclaimed, “O Lord! that time is come.” He then went away from that place, and the approach of night induced him to repair for shelter to a ruined edifice. He there found a band of travellers, one of whom said to the others, “Let us set out”; but another answered, “Let us rather wait till daylight, for Al-Fudail is on the road, and will stop us.” Al-Fudail then turned his heart to God, and assured them that they had nothing to fear. For the rest of his life he lived as an ascetic, and ranked among the greatest saints. One of his recorded sayings is, “If the world with all it contains were offered to me, even on the condition of my not being taken to account for it, I would shun it as you would shun a carrion, lest it should defile your clothes.”

Another striking “conversion” is that of Ibrahim Ben Adham, Prince of Khorassan. He was passionately addicted to the chase, and one day when so employed heard a voice behind him exclaiming, “O Ibrahim, thou wast not born for this.” At first he took it for a delusion of Satan, but on hearing the same words pronounced more loudly exclaimed, “It is the Lord who speaks; His servant will obey.” Immediately he desisted from his amusement, and, changing clothes with an attendant, bade adieu to Khorassan, took the road towards Syria, and from thenceforth devoted himself entirely to a life of piety and labour.

A third example is that of Ghazzali himself, who, in his work The Deliverance from Error, has left one of the very few specimens of Eastern religious autobiography, and one bearing a certain resemblance to Newman’s Apologia. He was professor of theology at the University of Bagdad in the eleventh century. In his autobiography he says: “Reflecting upon my situation, I found myself bound to this world by a thousand ties; temptations assailed me on all sides. I then examined my actions. The best were those relating to instruction and education; and even there I saw myself given up to unimportant sciences, all useless in another world. Reflecting on the aim of my teaching, I found it was not pure in the sight of the Lord. I saw that all my efforts were directed towards the acquisition of glory to myself.” After this, as he was one day about to lecture, his tongue refused utterance; he was dumb. He looked upon this as a visitation from God, and was deeply afflicted at it. He became seriously ill, and the physicians said his recovery was hopeless unless he could shake off his depression. “Then,” he continues, “feeling my helplessness, I had recourse to God, as one who has no other recourse in his distress. He compassionated me as He compassionates the unhappy who invoke Him. My heart no longer made any resistance, but willingly renounced the glories and the pleasures of this world.”

We may close this short list with the name of the Sufi poet, Ferid-eddin-Attar. He was a druggist by trade, and one day was startled by one of the half-mad fakirs, who swarm in Oriental cities, pensively gazing at him while his eyes slowly filled with tears. Ferid-eddin angrily ordered him to go about his business. “Sir,” replied the fakir, “that is easily done; for my baggage is light. But would it not be wise for you to commence preparations for your journey?” The words struck home, Ferid-eddin abandoned his business, and devoted the rest of his life to meditation and collecting the sayings of the wise.

These four cases, the highwayman, the prince, the theologian, the poet, are sufficient to show that the Recognition (anagnorisis) and Revolution (peripeteia), to use Aristotle’s phrase, which turns life from a chaotic dream into a well-ordered drama, of which God is the Protagonist, may receive as signal though not as frequent illustration in the territory of Islam as in that of Christianity. They also serve to illustrate Professor W. James’ thesis in his Gifford Lectures, that “conversion,” whether Christian or extra-Christian, is a psychological fact, and not a mere emotional illusion.



Sufism consists essentially in giving up oneself constantly to devotional exercises, in living solely for God, in abandoning all the frivolous attractions of the world, in disregarding the ordinary aims of men pleasures, riches and honours and finally in separating oneself from society for the sake of practising devotion to God. This way of life was extremely common among the companions of the Prophet and the early Moslems. But when in the second century of Islam and the succeeding centuries the desire for worldly wealth had spread, and ordinary men allowed themselves to be drawn into the current of a dissipated and worldly life, the persons who gave themselves up to piety were distinguished by the name of “Sufis,” or aspirants to Sufism.

The most probable derivation is from “suf” (wool), for, as a rule, Sufis wear woollen garments to distinguish themselves from the crowd, who love gaudy attire.

For an intelligent being possessed of a body, thought is the joint product of the perception of events which happen from without, and of the emotions to which they give rise within, and is that quality which distinguishes man from animals. These emotions proceed one from another; just as knowledge is born of arguments, joy and sadness spring from the perception of that which causes grief or pleasure. Similarly with the disciple of the spiritual life in the warfare which he wages with himself, and in his devotional exercises. Every struggle which he has with his passions produces in him a state resulting from this struggle. This state is either a disposition to piety which, strengthening by repetition, becomes for him a “station” (maqam), or merely an emotion which he undergoes, such as joy, merriment, &c.

The disciple of the spiritual life continues to rise from one station to another, till he arrives at the knowledge of the Divine Unity and of God, the necessary condition for obtaining felicity, conformably to the saying of the Prophet: “Whosoever dies while confessing that there is no god but God, shall enter Paradise.”

Progress through these different stages is gradual. They have as their common foundation obedience and sincerity of intention; faith precedes and accompanies them, and from them proceed the emotions and qualities, the transient and permanent modifications of the soul; these emotions and qualities go on producing others in a perpetual progression which finally arrives at the station of the knowledge of the Unity of God. The disciple of the spiritual life needs to demand an account of his soul in all its actions, and to keep an attentive eye on the most hidden recesses of his heart; for actions must necessarily produce results, and whatever evil is in results betokens a corresponding evil in actions.

There are but a few persons who imitate the Sufis in this practice of self-examination, for negligence and indifference in this respect are almost universal. Pious men who have not risen to this class (the mystics) only aim at fulfilling the works commanded by the law in all the completeness laid down by the science of jurisprudence. But the mystics examine scrupulously the results of these works, the effects and impressions which they produce upon the soul. For this purpose they use whatever rays of divine illumination may have reached them while in a state of ecstacy, with the object of assuring themselves whether their actions are exempt or not from some defect. The essence of their system is this practice of obliging the soul often to render an account of its actions and of what it has left undone. It also consists in the development of those gifts of discrimination and ecstacy which are born out of struggles with natural inclinations, and which then become for the disciple stations of progress.

The Sufis possess some rules of conduct peculiar to themselves, and make use of certain technical expressions. Of these Ghazzali has treated in Ihya-ul-ulum ("Revival of the Religious Sciences"). He speaks of the laws regulating devotion, he explains the rules and customs of the Sufis and the technical terms which they use. Thus the system of the Sufis, which was at first only a special way of carrying on worship, and the laws of which were only handed on by example and tradition, was methodised and reduced to writing, like the exegesis of the Koran, the Traditions, Jurisprudence, and so forth.

This spiritual combat and this habit of meditation are usually followed by a lifting of the veils of sense, and by the perception of certain worlds which form part of the “things of God” (knowledge of which He has reserved for Himself). The sensual man can have no perception of such things.

Disentanglement from the things of sense and consequent perception of invisible things takes place when the spirit, giving up the uses of exterior senses, only uses interior ones; in this state the emotions proceeding from the former grow feebler, while those which proceed from the spirit grow stronger; the spirit dominates, and its vigour is renewed.

Now, the practice of meditation contributes materially to this result. It is the nourishment by which the spirit grows. Such growth continues till what was the knowledge of One absent becomes the consciousness of One present, and the veils of sense being lifted, the soul enjoys the fullness of the faculties which belong to it in virtue of its essence, i.e., perception. On this plane it becomes capable of receiving divine grace and knowledge granted by the Deity. Finally its nature as regards the real knowledge of things as they are, approaches the loftiest heaven of angelic beings.

This disentanglement from things of sense takes place oftenest in men who practise the spiritual combat, and thus they arrive at a perception of the real nature of things such as is impossible to any beside themselves. Similarly, they often know of events before they arrive; and by the power of their prayers and their spiritual force, they hold sway over inferior beings who are obliged to obey them.

The greatest of the mystics do not boast of this disentanglement from things of sense and this rule over inferior creatures; unless they have received an order to do so, they reveal nothing of what they have learnt of the real nature of things. These supernatural workings are painful, and when they experience them they ask God for deliverance.

The companions of the Prophet also practised this spiritual warfare; like the mystics, they were overwhelmed with these tokens of divine favour such as the power to walk on the water, to pass through fire without being burnt, to receive their food in miraculous ways, but they did not attach great importance to them. Abu-bekr, Omar, and Ali were distinguished by a great number of these supernatural gifts, and their manner of viewing them was followed by the mystics who succeeded them.

But among the moderns there are men who have set great store by obtaining this disentanglement from things of sense, and by speaking of the mysteries discovered when this veil is removed. To reach this goal they have had recourse to different methods of asceticism, in which the intellectual soul is nourished by meditation to the utmost of its capacity, and enjoys in its fullness the faculty of perception which constitutes its essence. According to them, when a man has arrived at this point, his perception comprehends all existence and the real nature of things without a veil, from the throne of God to the smallest drops of rain. Ghazzali describes the ascetic practices which are necessary to arrive at this state.

This condition of disentanglement from the things of sense is only held to be perfect when it springs from right dispositions. For there are, as a matter of fact, persons who profess to live in retirement and to fast without possessing right dispositions; such are sorcerers, Christians, and others who practise ascetic exercises. We may illustrate this by the image of a well-polished mirror. According as its surface is convex or concave, the object reflected in it is distorted from its real shape; if, on the contrary, the mirror has a plane surface, the object is reflected exactly as it is. Now, what a plane surface is for the mirror, a right disposition is for the soul, as regards the impressions it receives from without.



The almost miraculous renaissance in Islam which is now proceeding in Turkey and other Mohammedan countries reminds one forcibly of Dante’s lines:

For I have seen
The thorn frown rudely all the winter long,
And after bear the rose upon its top.

Paradiso, xii.

It is not perhaps fanciful to conjecture that one of the hidden causes of this renaissance is the large quantity of Christian truth which Islam literature holds, so to speak, in solution. It is a well-known fact that the Koran has borrowed largely from the Old Testament and the Apocryphal Gospels, but it is not so generally known that Mohammedan philosophers, theologians, and poets betray an acquaintance with facts and incidents of the Gospels of which the Koran contains no mention.

Leaving the Koran on one side, in the “Traditions,” i.e., sayings of Mohammed handed down by tradition, we find God represented as saying at the Judgment, “O ye sons of men, I was hungry and ye gave Me no food,” the whole of the passage in Matt. xxv. being quoted. This is remarkable, as it strikes directly at the orthodox Mohammedan conception of God as an impassible despot. Other sayings attributed to God which have a Christian ring are, “I was a hidden Treasure and desired to be known, therefore I created the world”; “If it were not for Thee, I would not have made the world” (addressed to Mohammed), evidently an echo of Col. , “All things have been created through Him and unto Him” (R.V.). The writer has often heard this last saying quoted by Indian Mohammedans in controversy.

Another traditional saying attributed to Mohammed is not unlike the doctrine of the Holy Spirit: “Verily from your Lord come breathings. Be ye prepared for them.” The Second Advent is also referred to in others: “How will it be with you when God sends Jesus to judge you?” “There is no Mahdi but Jesus.” It is a well-known fact that a certain gate in Jerusalem is kept walled up because the Mohammedans believe that Jesus will pass through it when He returns.

Some traditions have twisted Gospel parables, &c., in favour of Mohammedanism. Thus in the mention of the parable of the hired labourers, the first two sets of labourers are said to mean Jews and Christians, and the last comers, who receive an equal wage, though grumbled at by the others, are believed to indicate the Mohammedans. Other traditions give one of Christ’s sayings a grotesquely literal dress. Thus our Lord is said to have met a fox, and to have said, “Fox! where art thou going?” The fox replied, to his home. Upon which our Lord uttered the verse, “Foxes have holes,” &c. Once when entering an Afghan village the writer was met by a Pathan, who asked if the New Testament contained that verse. This shows how even garbled traditions may predispose the Mohammedan mind for the study of the Gospels.

Tabari, the historian ( 923 A.D.), gives an account of the Last Supper and of Christ washing the disciples’ hands (sic) topics entirely ignored by the Koran and quotes the saying of our Lord regarding the smiting of the Shepherd and the scattering of the sheep.

Sufi literature, representing as it does the mystical side of Islam, abounds with allusions to Scripture. Al Ghazzali, the great opponent of Averroes (1058-1111 A.D.), in his Ihya-ul-ulum ("Revival of the Religious Sciences”) quotes the saying of Christ regarding the children playing in the market-place. In his Kimiya-i-Saadat ("Alchemy of Happiness”) he writes, “It is said that Jesus Christ in a vision saw this world in the form of an old woman, and asked how many husbands she had lived with. She said they were innumerable. He asked her if they had died, or had divorced her. She replied that it was neither, the fact being that she had killed all.” Here we seem to have a confused echo of the episode of the woman of Samaria. Again in the same work he says, “It is a saying of Jesus Christ that the seeker of the world is like a man suffering from dropsy; the more he drinks water the more he feels thirsty.” In the Ihya-ul-ulum, the verse “Eye hath not seen,” &c., is quoted as if from the Koran, where it nowhere occurs. Ghazzali was an ardent student of the Neo-Platonists, and through him the phrases Aql-i-Kull ( Logos) and Nafs-i-Kull ( Pneuma) passed into Sufi writings (v. Whinfield, Preface to the Masnavi).

Saadi (1184 A.D.), the famous author of the Gulistan and Bostan, was for some time kept in captivity by the Crusaders. This may account for echoes of the Gospels which we find in his writings. In the Gulistan he quotes the verse, “We are members of one another,” and in the Bostan the parable of the Pharisee and Publican is told in great detail.

Nizami (1140) gives a story which, though grotesque, seems to show that he had apprehended something of the Christian spirit. Some passers-by were commenting on the body of a dead dog, saying how abominably it smelt, &c. Christ passed, and said, “Behold, how white its teeth are!”

But of all the Mohammedan writers, none bears such distinct traces of Christian influence as Jalaluddin Rumí, the greatest of the Sufi poets, who is to this day much studied in Persia, Turkey and India. In the first book of his Masnavi he has a strange story of a vizier who persuaded his king, a Jewish persecutor of the Christians, to mutilate him. He then went to the Christians and said, “See what I have suffered for your religion.” After gaining their confidence and being chosen their guide, he wrote epistles in different directions to the chief Christians, contradicting each other, maintaining in one that man is saved by grace, and in another that salvation rests upon works, &c. Thus he brought their religion into inextricable confusion. This is evidently aimed at St. Paul, and it is a curious fact that Jalaluddin Rumí spent most of his life at Iconium, where some traditions of the apostle’s teaching must have lingered. Other allusions to the Gospel narrative in the Masnavi are found in the mention of John the Baptist leaping in his mother’s womb, of Christ walking on the water, &c., none of which occur in the Koran. Isolated verses of Jalaluddin’s clearly show a Christian origin:

I am the sweet-smiling Jesus,
And the world is alive by Me.

I am the sunlight falling from above,
Yet never severed from the Sun I love.

It will be seen that Jalaluddin gives our Lord a much higher rank than is accorded to Him in the Koran, which says, “And who could hinder God if He chose to destroy Mary and her son together?”

A strange echo of the Gospel narrative is found in the story of the celebrated Sufi, Mansur-al-Hallaj, who was put to death at Bagdad, 919 A.D., for exclaiming while in a state of mystic ecstacy, “I am the Truth.” Shortly before he died he cried out, “My Friend (God) is not guilty of injuring me; He gives me to drink what as Master of the feast He drinks Himself” (Whinfield, preface to the Masnavi). Notwithstanding the apparent blasphemy of Mansur’s exclamation, he has always been the object of eulogy by Mohammedan poets. Even the orthodox Afghan poet, Abdurrahman, says of him:

Every man who is crucified like Mansur,
After death his cross becomes a fruit-bearing tree.

Many of the favourite Sufi phrases, “The Perfect Man,” “The new creation,” “The return to God,” have a Christian sound, and the modern Babi movement which has so profoundly influenced Persian life and thought owes its very name to the saying of Christ, “I am the Door” ("Ana ul Bab"), adopted by Mirza Ali, the founder of the sect.

When Henry Martyn reached Shiraz in 1811, he found his most attentive listeners among the Sufis. “These Sufis,” he writes in his diary, “are quite the Methodists of the East. They delight in everything Christian except in being exclusive. They consider they all will finally return to God, from whom they emanated.”

It is certainly noteworthy that some of the highly educated Indian converts from Islam to Christianity have been men who have passed through a stage of Sufism, e.g., Moulvie Imaduddin of Amritsar, on whom Archbishop Benson conferred a D.D. degree, and Safdar Ali, late Inspector of Schools at Jabalpur. In one of the semi-domes of the Mosque of St. Sophia at Constantinople is a gigantic figure of Christ in mosaic, which the Mohammedans have not destroyed, but overlaid with gilding, yet so that the outlines of the figure are still visible. Is it not a parable?



The following brief article is an attempt to bring together some of the passages in Mohammedan writers in which Christ is accorded a higher place than in the Koran, and in which deeds and words of His are mentioned regarding which the Koran is quite silent. For though the Koran calls Him ‘the Spirit of God’ and ‘a Word proceeding from Him,’ at the same time it says ’What could hinder God if He chose to destroy the Messiah and His mother both together?’

In the traditional sayings of Mohammed collected by Al Bokhari, accepted by all Sunni Mohammedans, we have the following:

1st. The sinlessness of Christ. The Prophet said, ’Satan touches every child at its birth and it cries out from the touch of Satan. This is the case with all, except Mary and her son.’

2nd. A famous utterance of Christ is attributed to God. The Prophet said, ’At the resurrection God shall say, “O ye sons of men, I was sick and ye visited Me not.” They shall say, “Thou art the Lord of the worlds how should we visit Thee?” He will say, “A certain servant of Mine was sick; if you had visited him you would have found Me with him."’ This tradition is noteworthy as it brings out the affinity between God and man which the Koran for the most part ignores.

3rd. Christ returning to judgment. The Prophet said, ’How will it be with you when God sends back the Son of Mary to rule and to judge (hakiman, muqsitan)?’

In the ’Awarifu-l-Mawarif of Shahabu-d-Din Suhrawardi the doctrine of the New Birth is definitely attributed to Christ: ’The death of nature and of will which they call “the second birth” even as Christ has written.’

Ghazzali in the Ihya-ul-ulum thus refers to St. Matt. x: ’Some one said, “I saw written in the Gospel, We have sung to you but ye have not been moved with emotion; we have piped unto you but ye have not danced."’ He also quotes St. Matt. v, ’Jesus said, Consider the fowls, etc.’

The historian Tabari mentions the institution of the Last Supper, Christ’s washing His disciple’s hands, requesting them to watch with Him, predicting Peter’s denial, and quotes the text, ’The shepherd shall be smitten, and the sheep shall be scattered.’

In the Bostan of Sadi the parable of the Publican and the Pharisee takes the following curious shape:

In Jesus’ time there lived a youth so black and dissolute,
That Satan from him shrank appalled in every attribute;
He in a sea of pleasures foul uninterrupted swam
And gluttonized on dainty vices, sipping many a dram.
Whoever met him on the highway turned as from a pest,
Or, pointing lifted finger at him, cracked some horrid jest.
I have been told that Jesus once was passing by the cave
Where dwelt a monk who asked Him in,
When suddenly that slave of sin appeared across the way,
Far off he paused, fell down and sobbingly began to pray;
And like a storm or rain the tears pour gushing from his eyes.
‘Alas, and woe is me for thirty squandered years,’ he cries;
The pride-puffed monk self-righteous lifts his eyebrows with a sneer,
And haughtily exclaims, ’Vile wretch! in vain hast thou come here.
Art thou not plunged in sin, and tossed in lust’s devouring sea?
What will thy filthy rags avail with Jesus and with me?
O God! the granting of a single wish is all I pray,
Grant me to stand far distant from this man at Judgement Day.’
From heaven’s throne a revelation instantaneous broke,
And God’s own thunder-words through the mouth of Jesus spoke:
’The two whom praying there I see, shall equally be heard;
They pray diverse, I give to each according to his word.
That poor one thirty years has rolled in sin’s most slimy steeps,
But now with stricken heart and streaming eyes for pardon weeps.
Upon the threshold of My grace he throws him in despair,
And faintly hoping pity pours his supplications there.
Therefore forgiven and freed from all the guilt in which he lies
My mercy chooses him a citizen of paradise;
This monk desires that he may not that sinner stand beside,
Therefore he goes to hell and so his wish is gratified.’

(Alger: Poetry of the Orient)

It is refreshing to find one of the classical Moslem writers so strongly denouncing self-righteousness. The poet Nizami in the following apologue seems to have caught no little of the spirit of the Gospel:

One evening Jesus lingered in the market-place
Teaching the people parables of truth and grace,
When in the square remote a crowd was seen to rise
And stop with loathing gestures and abhorring cries.
The Master and His meek Disciples went to see
What cause for this commotion and disgust could be,
And found a poor dead dog beside the gutter laid;
Revolting sight! at which each face its hate betrayed.
One held his nose, one shut his eyes, one turned away,
And all amongst themselves began loud to say,
‘Detested creature! he pollutes the earth and air!’
‘His eyes are blear!’ ‘His ears are foul!’ ‘His ribs are bare!’
‘In his torn hide there’s not a decent shoe-string left!’
‘No doubt the execrable cur was hung for theft!’
Then Jesus spake and dropped on him this saving wreath:
‘Even pearls are dark before the whiteness of his teeth!’

(Alger: Poetry of the Orient.)

The entrance of our Lord into Jerusalem is referred to in the following passage from the Masnavi of Jalaluddin Rumí:

Having left Jesus, thou cherishest an ass,
And art perforce excluded like an ass;
The portion of Jesus is knowledge and wisdom,
Not so the portion of an ass, O assinine one!
Thou pitiest thine ass when it complains;
So art thou ignorant, thine ass makes thee assinine,
Keep thy pity for Jesus, not for the ass,
Make not thy lust to vanquish thy reason.

(Whinfield’s Translation).

Elsewhere in the Masnavi Jalaluddin Rumí says:

Jesus, thy Spirit, is present with thee;
Ask help of Him, for He is a good Helper.

In the Diwan-i-Shams-i-Tabriz, by the same author, we have the lines:

I am that sweet-smiling Jesus,
And the world is alive through Me.

Elsewhere he says, ‘The pure one is regenerated by the breath of Jesus.’ It is a significant fact that Jalaluddin Rumí spent most of his life at Iconium, where very likely some apostolic traditions lingered.

One aspect of our Lord which has strongly impressed itself on the Mohammedan imagination is His homelessness. Once on entering a Pathan village the writer was met by a youth, who asked, ’Is this verse in the Injil: “The Son of Mary had nowhere to lay His head"?’ In the Qissas-al-ambiya (Stories of the Prophets) this takes the following grotesque shape:

One day Jesus saw a fox running through the wilderness. He said to him, ‘O fox! whither art thou going?’ The fox answered, ’I have come out for exercise; now I am returning to my own home.’ Jesus said, ’Every one has built himself a house; but for Me there is no resting-place.’ Some people who heard it, said, ’We are sorry for Thee and will build Thee a house.’ He replied, ’I have no money.’ They answered, ‘We will pay all the expenses.’ Then he said, ‘Very well, I will choose the site.’ He led them down to the edge of the sea and, pointing where the waves were dashing highest, said, ‘Build Me a house there.’ The people said, ‘That is the sea, O Prophet! how can we build there?’ ’Yea, and is not the world a sea,’ He answered, ’on which no one can raise a building that abides?’

A similar echo of Christ’s words is found in the famous inscription over a bridge at Fatehpur Sikri: ’Jesus (upon Whom be peace) said, “The world is a bridge; pass over it, but do not build upon it."’

This keen sense of the transitoriness of everything earthly is a strongly-marked feature of the Oriental mind, and characterized all their saints and mystics. There is no wonder that this side of the gospel should make a special appeal to Orientals, and that the Fakir-missionary should seem to them to approximate most closely to his Master.

The following account of the trial of our Lord before the Sanhedrin and Pilate which occurs in the Dabistan of Mohsin Fani (A.D. 1647) approximates more nearly to the Gospel narrative than that which is ordinarily current among Mohammedan writers:

When Jesus appeared, the high-priest said, ’We charge Thee upon Thy oath by the living God, say art Thou the Son of God?’ The blessed and holy Lord Jesus replied to him, ’I am what thou hast said. Verily We say unto you, you shall see the Son of man seated at the right hand of God, and He shall descend in the clouds of heaven.’ They said, ’Thou utterest a blasphemy, because, according to the creed of the Jews, God never descends in the clouds of heaven.’

Isaiah the prophet has announced the birth of Jesus in words the translation of which is as follows: ’A branch from the root of I’shai shall spring up, and from this branch shall come forth a flower in which the Spirit of God shall dwell, verily a virgin shall be pregnant and bring forth a Son.’ I’shai is the name of the father of David.

“When they had apprehended Jesus, they spat upon His blessed face and smote Him. Isaiah had predicted it. ’I shall give up My body to the smiters, and My cheek to the diggers of wounds. I shall not turn My face from those who will use bad words and throw spittle upon Me.’ When Pilatus, a judge of the Jews, scourged the Lord Jesus in such a manner that His body from head to foot became but one wound, so was it as Isaiah had predicted, ’He was wounded for our transgressions; I struck Him for His people.’ When Pilatus saw that the Jews insisted upon the death and crucifixion of Jesus, he said, ’I take no part in the blood of this Man; I wash my hands clean of His blood.’ The Jews answered, ‘His blood be on us and on our children.’ On that account the Jews are oppressed and curbed down in retribution of their iniquities. When they had placed the cross upon the shoulders of Jesus and led Him to die, a woman wiped with the border of her garment the face, full of blood, of the Lord Jesus. Verily she obtained three images of it and carried them home; the one of these images exists still in Spain, the other is in the town of Milan in Italy, and the third in the city of Rome.”

The same author, Mohsin Fani, says:

The Gospel has been translated from the tongue of Jesus into different languages, namely, into Arabic, Greek, Latin, which last is the language of the learned among the Firangis; and into Syriac, and this all learned men know.

Fragments of our Lords teaching are found not only in religious but also in secular Mohammedan books; thus in the Kitab Jawidan of Ibn Muskawih we have the following:

The hatefullest of learned men in the eyes of God is he who loves reputation and that room should be made for him in the assemblies of the great, and to be invited to feasts. Verily I say they have their reward in the world.

In the Kitab-al-Aghani, a history of Arabic poetry, it is related:

Satan came to Jesus and said, ‘Dost Thou not speak the truth?’ ‘Certainly,’ answered Jesus. ‘Well then,’ said Satan, ’climb this mountain and cast Thyself down.’ Jesus said, ’Woe to thee, for hath not God said, O Son of Man, tempt Me not by casting thyself into destruction, for I do that which I will.’

From the above instances taken from well-known Mohammedan writers it will be seen that the Christ of post-Koranic tradition is far more life-like than the Christ of the Koran. The latter is a mere lay-figure, bedecked with honorific titles indeed, such as the ’Spirit of God and a word proceeding from Him,’ and working miracles, but displaying no character. In the post-Koranic writers, on the other hand, we have His sinlessness, His return to judgment, His humility, His unworldliness, His sufferings, His doctrine of the New Birth, topics upon which the Koran is entirely silent. An open-minded Moslem perusing the above passages in the original Persian and Arabic (and many might be added) would certainly gain a far higher conception of our Lord than from anything he would find in the Koran.