Samuel m. Zwemer, F. R. G. S. Secretary, student volunteer movement missionary in arabia

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ISLAM: A CHALLENGE TO FAITH



Prepared by

www.muhammadanism.org

August 18, 2004


ISLAM


A CHALLENGE TO FAITH

STUDIES ON THE MOHAMMEDAN RELIGION AND THE NEEDS AND OPPORTUNITIES OF THE MOHAMMEDAN WORLD FROM THE STANDPOINT OF CHRISTIAN MISSIONS


BY

SAMUEL M. ZWEMER, F.R.G.S.



SECRETARY, STUDENT VOLUNTEER MOVEMENT

MISSIONARY IN ARABIA


SECOND REVISED EDITION

1909
NEW YORK

STUDENT VOLUNTEER MOVEMENT

FOR FOREIGN MISSIONS

1907

[Illustration]


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.


Prepared by

www.muhammadanism.org

August 18, 2004


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 [1]

"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.

PREFACE

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

vii

viii PREFACE

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.


October, 1909.

CONTENTS
CHAPTER I


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
CHAPTER II

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.

ix

x CONTENTS


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
CHAPTER III

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

CONTENTS xi


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
CHAPTER IV

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.

xii CONTENTS


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

CHAPTER V

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.

CONTENTS xiii


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.

Other Religious Practices.—(a) Circumcision—(b) Feasts—The two chief feast-days—The Feast of Sacrifice—Its origin and character—(c) Jihad, or religious warfare—Taught by the Ko­ran—Attempted apology for this teaching—Marcus Dod's reply—The witness of history—The witness of the Moslem press on this subject—The use of the sword an open question—Saying of Mo­hammed on its use—A Jihad for Jesus Christ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 99

CHAPTER VI

THE ETHICS OF ISLAM


The Basis of Moslem Ethics.—Definition—Highest good, vir­tue, and the moral law in Islam.

Its Real Character.—Some breadth, but no depth—The moral life consists in externals—No inner struggle—Prohibitions—This form of ethics a retrogression.

The Moslem Idea of Sin.—Definition—Classification—Terms used—No distinction between moral and ceremonial law—Exam­ples—Allah not immutably just.

Their Low Ideal of Character.—Mohammed as ideal of con­duct—Raymund Lull's indictment—Mohammed's idea of truthful­ness—His cruelty—Lying as a fine art.

Islam and the Decalogue.—Mohammed's nine commandments—Interpretation of the commandments—Things allowed by Moslem ethics.

Polygamy, Divorce, and Slavery.—These are inseparable from Islam—Effect on morals—The privileges of a true believer—Status of women—Marriage.

The Slave Trade.—Allowed—Legislated for—Position of a slave—Present-day traffic—Slave market of Mecca—Jiddah port of entry.

The Social Bankruptcy of Islam.—"By their fruits ye shall know them"—The Bedouin Arabs on Islam—Result of Islam in Turkey—In the Soudan—In Arabia—Professor Vambery on Mo­hammedan misrule.

Moslem Ethics a Plea for Missions.—The testimony of Bos­worth Smith—Superiority of Christian ethics—Our duty to carry it to the Moslem. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 119

xiv CONTENTS


CHAPTER VII

DIVISION, DISINTEGRATION, AND REFORM


Why Islam Became Divided.—Contact and conflict with older civilizations—The Aryan against the Semite—The prophet's life as a factor.

Number of Sects.—Classification—Table.


The Sunnis.—Their basis of faith—Philosophy—Schools of theology—Difference of the four schools—Books.

The Shiahs.—Their hatred of the orthodox party—Divisions—The Imamate—The Mahdi—Effect of this teaching—Other dif­ferences—How extremes meet—Number.

Other Sects.—The Ghalias—The Jabariyah—Kadariyah—Wild speculations on the form of God—Disintegration—Pantheistic and other influences—Especially in Persia—Mysticism in Islam.

Sufiism.—Origin of the name—Leading doctrines—The perfect man—Sufi poetry—Examples—The story of Imad-ud-Din's ex­perience.

The Derwish Orders.—Their power—Obedience to Leadership—Poverty—Journeys—Classification—Orders—Political aim and power.

The Babis and Behais.—A protest against Islam—Real origin—The "Doors"—Mirza Ali Mohammed—His martyrdom—Division of the sect—Significance of Babism—A missionary's opinion on the Behais—Their number—Morality.

The Wahabis.—Attempt at reformation—Abd-ul-Wahib—His education—His aim—His method—How is his teaching distin­guished from orthodox Islam?—His conflict with Arabs, Turks, and British—Was it a reformation?—The verdict of Arabia. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 135
CHAPTER VIII

THE PRESENT CONDITION OF THE MOSLEM WORLD


Islam a World-wide Religion.—Present extent in numbers, area, and languages—The cosmopolitan character of the pilgrimage at Mecca—Number of pilgrims annually.

Numbers.—Estimates, rather than complete census—Various independent estimates of total population—Discrepancy.

Geographical Distribution.—In Africa—Alarming increase—Dr. Miller's testimony—Direction of spread in Africa—Islam in Asia and Europe—Lands predominantly Moslem—Islam in India—Bengal—China—The Philippines—Russia.


Distribution by Languages.—Arabic—Its extent and influence

CONTENTS xv


in the Moslem world—Other Moslem languages—Translations of the Koran—Of the Bible in Moslem tongues—The literary lan­guages of Islam.

Political Division.—Present condition a proof of God's hand in history—The caliphate in 907 A. D. and to-day—Table of politi­cal division of the Mohammedan world—Moslems under Chris­tian rulers.

Present Political Unrest.—Dar-ul-Harb and Dar-ul-Islam—The Zimmis—Cause of unrest—The Mecca pamphlet—The call to re­bellion in the paper, Ez-Zahir—Egypt and India to rise against England—Testimony of Mon. G. Honotaux—Unrest in the Dutch East Indies—Mass-meeting in Calcutta—Is the danger real or is it a political scarecrow?—Policy of European governments toward Islam—The British in West Africa—In Egypt—The Dutch in Java.

Social Condition of Moslem Lands.—The law of cause and ef­fect operative—Arabia an example of what Islam does for a people, socially and morally—Conditions in other lands—Balu­chistan—Moslem morals in India—In Africa—The slave-market at Mecca.

Illiteracy.—Its appalling extent and per cent.—In Tripoli, Egypt, Algiers—In Turkey and Arabia—The system of education in Mecca—The curriculum—Illiteracy in Persia and Baluchistan —Surprising illiteracy among Moslems in India—Superstition and bigotry a result of illiteracy.

The Intellectual Awakening.—The new wine and the old wine­skins—The New Islam—Sir Sayad Ahmad of Aligarh—His reforms—Present tendency in India—Aligarh College—Attempted reforms at Cairo—The press and the New Islam—A crisis for the old faith—Mustapha Pasha Kamil's address in London—The future of Islam. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 155
CHAPTER IX
MISSIONS TO MOSLEMS

A Neglected Problem.—Long neglect and reasons for it—Lull's testimony—Modern neglect illustrated.


Early Attitude of the Church.—Islam a foe and a scourge—Mutual hatred—Ignorance of Islam—Alanus de Insulis.

John Damascenus and Petrus Venerabilis.—John of Damas­cus and his book on Islam—The books of Petrus, and his method—Results.

Raymund Lull.—His character and attainments—Early life—Conversion—Studies—Preaching—Exile—Martyrdom—Message.

Francis Xavier.—His visit to Lahore—Discussions—Apology—Its contents.

xvi CONTENTS


Henry Martyn and Missions in India.—The influence of Mar­tyn—Outline of his life—Arrival in India—His Journey to Ara­bia and Persia—His translation of the Scriptures—How he pre­sented it—His death—His successors—Work in India after Mar­tyn.

Persia and Arabia.—Pfander's work—Other missions—Keith Falconer and Arabia—Present forces.

The Turkish Empire.—Well covered with missions—The work for non-Moslems—Original purpose of the Levant missions—What has been accomplished—Indirect results—The Arabic Bible.

North Africa.—Earliest efforts in Egypt—The U. P. mission—The C. M. S.—The North Africa mission—Unoccupied regions and multitudes unreached—Darkest Africa.

Malaysia.—Work in Sumatra—Results—Java—Large number of converts—Hausa-land and its future. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 185
CHAPTER X

METHODS AND RESULTS

Methods Used to Reach Moslems.—Faith essential—Its char­acter—The distribution of the Bible—Medical missions—Educa­tional institutions—Preaching—Its method, possibility, character—The place of controversy—Its use and abuse—Table of books—How to deal with inquirers.


Results.—Indirect and direct—The strategic centres already oc­cupied—List of Moslem cities which have over 100,000 population —Its significance—Bible translations —Other literature—Converts—In India—Egypt—Persia—Turkey—North Africa—Sumatra's harvest—Eighteen thousand converts in Java—A word from Bok­hara. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 209




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