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.
the truth of it.  For these twelve centuries, it has been the religion and life-guidance of the fifth part of the whole kindred of Mankind.  Above all things, it has been a religion heartily believed.  These Arabs believe their religion, and try to live by it!  No Christians, since the early ages, or only perhaps the English Puritans in modern times, have ever stood by their Faith as the Moslem do by theirs,—­believing it wholly, fronting Time with it, and Eternity with it.  This night the watchman on the streets of Cairo when he cries, “Who goes?” will hear from the passenger, along with his answer, “There is no God but God.” Allah akbar, Islam, sounds through the souls, and whole daily existence, of these dusky millions.  Zealous missionaries preach it abroad among Malays, black Papuans, brutal Idolaters;—­displacing what is worse, nothing that is better or good.

To the Arab Nation it was as a birth from darkness into light; Arabia first became alive by means of it.  A poor shepherd people, roaming unnoticed in its deserts since the creation of the world:  a Hero-Prophet was sent down to them with a word they could believe:  see, the unnoticed becomes world-notable, the small has grown world-great; within one century afterwards, Arabia is at Grenada on this hand, at Delhi on that;—­glancing in valor and splendor and the light of genius, Arabia shines through long ages over a great section of the world.  Belief is great, life-giving.  The history of a Nation becomes fruitful, soul-elevating, great, so soon as it believes.  These Arabs, the man Mohammed, and that one century,—­is it not as if a spark had fallen, one spark, on a world of what seemed black unnoticeable sand; but lo, the sand proves explosive powder, blazes heaven-high from Delhi to Grenada!  I said, the Great Man was always as lightning out of Heaven; the rest of men waited for him like fuel, and then they too would flame.



Entitled, the Preface, or Introduction—­Revealed at Mecca

In the Name of the Most Merciful God.

Praise be to God, the Lord of all creatures, the most merciful, the king of the day of judgment.  Thee do we worship, and of thee do we beg assistance.  Direct us in the right way, in the way of those to whom thou hast been gracious; not of those against whom thou art incensed, nor of those who go astray.[21]

[Footnote 21:  This chapter is a prayer, and held in great veneration by the Mohammedans, who give it several other honorable titles; as the chapter of prayer, of praise, of thanksgiving, of treasure.  They esteem it as the quintessence of the whole Koran, and often repeat it in their devotions both public and private, as the Christians do the Lord’s Prayer.]


Entitled, the Cow[22]—­Revealed Partly at Mecca, and Partly at Medina

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