He grew rapidly worse. His wife Ayesha, and his daughter Fatima, wife of Ali, seldom left his bedside. When the last came, he raised his eyes to the ceiling and exclaimed, “O Allah, pardon my sins!” He then, with his own feeble hand, sprinkled his face with water, and soon afterwards, with his head on Ayesha’s bosom, he departed, in the sixty-third year of his age, and the eleventh year of the Hejira, A.D. 632.
The frenzied people would not believe that he was dead. “He will arise, like Jesus,” they said. But no returning breath quivered through the cold lips or animated the rigid form of him whom they passionately called to life; and not until Abu Beker assured them that he was really no more, saying, “Did he not himself assure us that he must experience the common fate of all? Did he not say in the Koran, ’Mohammed is no more than an apostle; the other apostles have already deceased before him; if he die therefore, or be slain, will ye turn back on your heels?’”—not until then did they disperse, with deep groans.
Mohammed was buried in the house in which he died, his grave being dug in the spot beneath his bed; but some years later a stone tomb was erected over the grave, and until the present day the place is held so sacred that it is at the risk of his life that anyone but a Mussulman dares enter.
THE NEW HOME.
“On these small cares
of daughter, wife, or friend,
The almost sacred joys of Home depend.”
In the quiet valley in Palestine life had been dealing gently with Nathan and his family. The long, long absence of Manasseh was the one thing lacking for their perfect contentment.
“It is well,” Nathan would say, yet his eyes would turn wistfully towards the South, as though he half-hoped to see the beloved face of his son appearing over the hill. The mother grew weary with waiting, yet she did not murmur, but whispered to her lonely heart, “Living or dead, it must be well.” Only once she said, “Husband, he is surely dead,” and Nathan replied:
“Let us still hope, wife, that we may yet see the goodness of the Lord in permitting us to behold his face.”
So they hoped on, and worked on, amid their orange trees, their corn and vegetables, and their sheep browsing peacefully on the hills. And Mary tended the jasmine flowers and rose-bushes at the door, carrying water to them night and morning, that they might look at their prettiest when Manasseh came. Only one letter had reached them—a cheery, hopeful letter,—but it had been a long time on the way, and the events of which it told had taken place many weeks before it reached the Jordan valley. It had told them of Yusuf and Amzi, of the little church, of the sender’s strange meeting with Kedar, and the news he had gathered of Lois. Then it had told of the war, and had closed with an affectionate farewell, in which the writer expressed his wish, rather than his expectation, of being able to make his way to the new home soon.