Sacred Books of the East eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 632 pages of information about Sacred Books of the East.
in this department from Jews and Christians.  Some of his historical incidents are purely fabulous, others are perversions or falsifications of the Scriptural narrative.  This portion of the “Koran,” interesting and anecdotic as it is, is the least satisfactory of the work, and shows the writer in his true ignorance, and disregard for historic verification.  When, for instance, he confounds Miriam, the sister of Moses, with Mary the Mother of Christ, he shows himself lost in truly Oriental clouds of mystic error.  The third element in the “Koran” is a large body of admonitions, many of them addressed to the outside world, and to unbelievers who are exhorted to accept the creed that there is one God and Mohammed is His prophet.  War is put forth as a legitimate method of propagating the faith.  The duties of life, such as justice, temperance, resignation and industry, are enforced.  Hell is threatened to infidels and immoral people; and from whatever sources the writer derived his materials there can be no doubt that the moral scheme he promulgated was in every sense a revelation to the degraded idolaters and fire-worshippers, amongst whom he discharged the mission of his life.  Mohammed preached what he called the truth, with the sword in one hand and the “Koran” in the other.  But the empire established by the sword would long since have crumbled into dust like that of Alexander or Augustus, unless the “Koran” had fixed its teaching in the minds of the conquered, had regulated by its precepts their social and political life, had supported and exalted their faith with the doctrine of one Almighty and beneficent God; had cheered them with the hope of a Resurrection, and illuminated their minds with the vision of a Paradise, the grossest of whose delights were afterwards to be interpreted by Arabic commentators in accordance with the highest spiritual capabilities of the human race.



By Thomas Carlyle

From the first rude times of Paganism among the Scandinavians in the North, we advance to a very different epoch of religion, among a very different people:  Mohammedanism among the Arabs.  A great change; what a change and progress is indicated here, in the universal condition and thoughts of men!

The Hero is not now regarded as a God among his fellow-men; but as one God-inspired, as a Prophet.  It is the second phasis of Hero-worship:  the first or oldest, we may say, has passed away without return; in the history of the world there will not again be any man, never so great, whom his fellow-men will take for a god.  Nay we might rationally ask, Did any set of human beings ever really think the man they saw there standing beside them a god, the maker of this world?  Perhaps not:  it was usually some man they remembered, or had seen.  But neither can this any more be.  The Great Man is not recognized henceforth as a god any more.

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Sacred Books of the East from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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