After Bedr, the poet and Prophet becomes the administrator and Prophet. The quietude and meditation of the Meccan hill-slopes are exchanged for the council-chamber and the battlefield, and appear upon the background of his anxious life with the glamour and aloofness of a dream-country; the inevitable turmoil and preoccupation which accompanies the direction of affairs took hold upon his life. The fervour of his nature, its remorseless activity, compelled him to legislate for his followers with that minute attention to detail almost inconceivable to the modern mind with its conceptions of the various “departments” of state.
We see him mainly through tradition, but also to a great extent in the Kuran directing the humblest details in the lives of the Muslim, organising their ritual, regulating their commerce, their usury laws, their personal cleanliness, their dietary, their social and moral relations. Regarding the multifarious duties and cares of his growing state, its almost complete helplessness in its hands, for he alone was its guiding force, it is the clearest testimony to his vital energy, his strength and sanity of brain, that he was not overwhelmed by them, and that the creative side of his nature was not crushed beyond recovery; although confronted by the clamorous demands of government and warfare, these could not touch his spiritual enthusiasm nor his glowing and changeless devotion to Allah and his cause. At the end of his long years of rule he could still say with perfect truth, “My chief delight is in prayer.”
THE JEWS AT MEDINA
“And if the people of the Book had believed, it had surely been better for them: Believers there are among them, but most of them are perverse.” —The Kuran.
The songs of triumph over Bedr had scarcely left the lips of Muslim poets when the voice of faction was heard again in Medina. The Jews, that “stiff-necked nation,” unimpressed by Mahomet’s triumph, careful only of its probable effect on their own position, which effect they could not but regard as disastrous, seeing that it augured their own submission to a superior power, murmured against his success, and tried their utmost to sow dissension by the publication of contemptuous songs through the mouths of their poets and prophetesses. Not only did the Jews murmur in secret against him, but they tried hard to induce members of the original Medinan tribes to join with them in a desperate effort to throw off the Muslim yoke.
Chief among these defamers of Mahomet’s prestige was Asma, a prophetess of the tribe of Beni Aus. She published abroad several libellous songs upon Mahomet, but was quickly silenced by Omeir, a blind man devoted to his leader, who felt his way to her dwelling-place at dead of night, and, creeping past her servant, slew her in the midst of her children. News of the outrage was brought to Mahomet; it was expected he would punish Omeir, but: