Mahomet eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 211 pages of information about Mahomet.

In Arabia nature cannot be ignored.  Pastures and cornland, mountain slopes and quiet rivers may be admired, even reverenced; but they are things external to the gaze, and make no insistent demand upon the spirit for penetration of their mystery.  Arabia, and Mecca as typical of Arabia, is a country governed by earth’s primal forces.  It has not yet emerged from the shadow of that early world, bare and chaotic, where a blinding sun pours down upon dusty mountain ridges, and nothing is temperate or subdued.  It fosters a race of men, whose gods are relentless and inscrutable, revealing themselves seldom, and dwelling in a fierce splendour beyond earthly knowledge.  To the spirit of a seeker for truth with senses alert to the outer world, this country speaks of boundless force, and impels into activity under the spur of conviction; by its very desolation it sets its ineradicable mark upon the creed built up within it.

Mahomet spent forty years in the city of Mecca, watching its temple services with his grandfather, taking part in its mercantile life, learning something of Christian and Jewish doctrine through the varied multitudes that thronged its public places.  In the desert beyond the city boundaries he wandered, searching for inspiration, waiting dumbly in the darkness until the angel Gabriel descended with rush of wings through the brightness of heaven, commanding: 

“Cry aloud, in the name of the Lord who created thee.  O, thou enwrapped in thy mantle, arise and warn!”

Mecca lies in a stony valley midway between Yemen, “the Blessed,” and Syria, in the midst of the western coast-chain of Arabia, which slopes gradually towards the Red Sea.  The height of Abu Kobeis overlooks the eastern quarter of the town, whence hills of granite stretch to the holy places, Mina and Arafat, enclosed by the ramparts of the Jebel Kora range.  Beyond these mountains to the south lies Taif, with its glory of gardens and fruit-trees.  But the luxuriance of Taif finds no counterpart on the western side.  Mecca is barren and treeless; its sandy stretches only broken here and there by low hills of quartz or gneiss, scrub-covered and dusty.  The sun beats upon the shelterless town until it becomes a great cauldron within its amphitheatre of hills.  During the Greater Pilgrimage the cauldron seethes with heat and humanity, and surges over into Mina and Arafat.  In the daytime Mecca is limitless heat and noise, but under the stars it has all the magic of a dream-city in a country of wide horizons.

The shadow of its ancient prosperity, when it was the centre of the caravan trade from Yemen to Syria, still hung about it in the years immediately before the birth of Mahomet, and the legends concerning the founding of the city lingered in the native mind.  Hagar, in her terrible journey through the desert, reached Mecca and laid her son in the midst of the valley to go on the hopeless quest for water.  The child kicked the ground in torment, and God was

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Mahomet from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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