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SECT. III.

Expiation and redemption as taught by the KoranThe saring and

supererogatory efficacy of good works - Auriliary rites and observances-Prayers, fasts, pilgrimages-Ludicrous and contemptible formsThe ritual false as it refers to God, useless or pernicious as it refers to men.

IN the religion of the Mussulman, there are many forms and many ceremonies designed to appease the anger, and conciliate the favour, of God; but no reference is to be found to the satisfaction which might be due to the divine justice for the apostasy of man, or to the ransom which might be required to redeem him from the bondage of sin and death. Mahomet, who was not unacquainted with the law and the gospel, alludes to the sin of Adam, without once adverting to the necessity of remedial suffering; and to the mission of Christ, without acknowledging even the reality of his death. “ They have said, Verily, we have slain Jesus “ Christ, the apostle of God, but they slew him not,

neither crucified him, for he was represented by one “ in his likeness; and God took him to himself, and “ God is mighty and wise”. * The prophet, therefore, instructed his followers to trust, not to the expiatory sacrifice of the cross for their redemption, but to themselves ; and they were to find, in the implicit observance of his ritual and of his laws, the sole and the certain means of propitiating the divine favour.

In the process of his legislation, he asserted, not only the necessity,—which who would not assert?but the saving and supererogatory efficacy, of what

• Koran, ch. iv. vol. 1. p. 124.

he denominated good works. To give alms, to vindicate the faith, to slay the infidel, were acts of high and atoning virtue, and might claim remuneration from the equity of the Almighty. But other performances, equally essential, were to be super. added to those means of celestial acceptance. Forms and ceremonies, which, however consonant to the religious customs of the Arabs, seem scarcely worthy of a code designed to extend beyond a village or a tribe, were to have their share in the work of redemption. If properly observed they might conciliate the divine favour; if carelessly neglected, even the warrior of Islem might forfeit his hope of future blessedness.

Of the rites thus invested with superstitious importance, some are absurd, some pernicious, and, in any moral or religious sense, none are useful. Ablutions, purifications, fasts, pilgrimages, and the periodical recitation of formal prayer, enter into the catalogue of redeeming duties; but the duties exist as much in the form as in the substance, in the mode as in the act; and the manner of the observance has been prescribed with a solemnity and precision which leave no doubt of the efficacy attributed to it by the prudence, the policy, or the zeal of the impostor.

Five times in every twenty-four hours the office of prayer is to be performed. The holy ejaculations are to be accurately counted by the beads. A peculiar attitude is to be observed during the devotion. The face is to be cautiously turned towards the temple of Mecca; and the temper of the heart is forgotten, while modes like these are not only minutely specified, and earnestly enforced, by the laws, but enumerated among the essential and unalterable conditions on which the blessings of Paradise are to be obtained *.

The fast is equally essential, and equally encumbered by formal regulations. It is sometimes to be protracted for a month ; but, if the abstinence which it requires be encourged by high and holy promises, the slightest irregularity during its continuance, the smelling of a perfume, the ablution of the bath, a free inspiration of the air, the touch, however incidental, of a woman, the intentional swallowing of the saliva, the exercise of speech, may vitiate the whole rite, and render it utterly vain and useless t.

The ceremonies to be observed at the conclusion of the pilgrimage, are not less absurd than the rules of the fasts. It is not enough that the pilgrim should perform his journey to Mecca from distant regions, in heat or cold, in sickness or want. When he arrives at the Caaba, whatever be his infirmities or exhaustion, he is to confirm the efficacy of his preceding sufferings, by observances which might excite the smile or the pity of the philosopher; and the kisses to be lavished in silent adoration on the black stone F, the devotional draughts of the purifying waters of Zemzem*, the processions to be seven times reiterated in unequal movements round the temples, the hurried race between the mountains Safa and Merwa I, the occasional stooping and looking back, like Hagar in quest of water for her son ||, the "tumultuous rushing” from the valley of Mina to mount Arafat 9, the casting of seven 'stones to repel the intrusion of the devils upon the devotion of the votaries , are all enumerated as forms absolutely necessary to the atoning efficacy of the pilgrimage itself, and to be, therefore, observed with patient and pious fidelity

* Koran, ch. xxiii. vol. 2. p. 178. Abulfed. Vit. Mahom. pp. 38, 39. Hötting. Histor. Eccles. tom. viii. pp. 470, 529. Smith de Morib. ac Instit. Turcar. Ep. i. 33. Hyde de Relig. Vet. Pers. pp. 8, 9, 126.

+ Sale, Prelim. Disc. iv. pp. 148, 149. 1 This stone was originally whiter than milk, but had been long darkened by the sinful lips of the devotees. It fell, with Adam, upon earth, was miraculously preserved at the deluge, delivered by the angel Gabriel to Abraham when he was building the Caaba, and, finally, was set in silver, and placed in the south-east corner of the holy temple. By some Mussulmen it has been called the right hand of God on earth, and, by all, it is held in the utmost veneration. It is among the most important duties of the pilgrims to worship it with holy kisses and humble prostrations. Sale, Prelim. Disc. sect. iv. p. 156.

Of the doctrines by which the religion of Mahomet has enforced observances like these, it will not be too much to say that they are false, as they respect God, and useless, or worse, as they respect man. What idea is he to entertain of the divine placability, who is taught to confide in such easy and such ludicrous modes of atonement ! How must the impression of essential obligation be weakened, where the disciple is required by his religion to devote so much of his life to such burdensome, and, often, such afflicting ceremonies ! And what must be the religion itself, which, uttering, at one moment, precepts of sublime morality, and doctrines of holy wisdom, announces, at the next, tenets and commands, substituting forms for duties, and trusting the expiation of the offender to worthless observances! In these devices of imposture there is much to darken and pervert the faculties of men, nothing to enlighten or exalt. Where men should have been edified by spiritual instruction, they are converted into the slaves of external modes. Where God should have been made known in the purity and holiness of his justice, he is represented as well pleased with the pious tumults of vagrant pilgrims, their rushing steps, and their reverence of a stone. The disciple is thus diverted from the wisdom which would have enlightened, to the ceremony which degrades, him; and he is moulded into the enthusiast or fanatic of a corrupt and corrupting creed, instead of being instructed in the precepts of genuine religion, and encouraged in his duties to God and man.

• The well Zemzem is on the east side of the Caaba. Abdallah al Häfedh, remarkable for the accuracy of his memory, acquired that power by drinking large draughts of the well. D'Her

telot, p. 5:

+ The pilgrims are required to run round the temple seven times. The three first times, they proceed in a short quick pace, the three last more gravely and slowly. Pocock, Spec. p. 314. # Reland, de Rel. Mahom. p. 121.

|| Id. 16. § Kor. ch. ii. p. 36. 1 Gagnier, Vie de Moham. tom. ii. p. 131. Pocock, Spec. P. 315. More particular account of all these forms may be found in Chardin, Voyage de Perse, tom. ii. p. 440. Pitt, on the Relig. &c. of the Moham. p. 92. Garnier, Vie de Moham. tom. ii. p. 258. Boulainvill. Vie de Mahom. P 54.

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