Mohammedan Sects

Mohammedan Sects "My community," the Prophet of Islam is reported to have said, "will separate itself into seventy-three sects; one only will be saved all the others shall perish." This prophecy, if it were ever made, has in a large measure been fulfilled. The Mohammedans are divided into fifty-five orthodox and eighteen liberal sects. Probably the prophecy was made after the division had taken place. (A very important and instructive treatise on this subject was presented by Silvestre de Sacy to the Institute of France. It is based on the writings of the Mohammedan writer Sheristani, and also on Macrisi.) But, be this as it may, differences of opinion arose among the Prophet's followers even during his own lifetime, and multiplied rapidly after his death. A perusal of the articles KORAN SEE KORAN and MOHAMMEDANISM SEE MOHAMMEDANISM will reveal clearly that the fundamentals of Islam were by no means unequivocal, and hence a great variety of interpretation of the Koran has resulted. To add to the poetical uncertainty of the Koranic principles, a vast number of oral traditions accumulated in Islam, and were circulated as an expansive corollary of the Koran. Political causes soon came to assist the confusion and contest, and religion was made the pretext for faction-fights, which in reality had their origin in the ambition of certain men of influence. Thus "sects" increased in far larger numbers even than the Prophet is said to have foretold, and though their existence was but short-lived in most instances, they yet deserve attention, were it only as signs and tokens of the ever-fresh life of the human spirit, which, though fettered a thousand times by narrow and hard formulas, will break these fetters as often, and prove its everlasting right to freedom of thought and action. The bewildering mass of these currents of controversy has by the Arabic historians been brought under four chief heads or fundamental bases. The first of these relates to the divine attributes and unity. Which of these attributes are essential or eternal? Is the omnipotence of God absolute? If not, what are its limits? Further, as to the doctrine of God's predestination and man's liberty — a question of no small purport, and one which has been controverted in nearly all religions. How far is God's decree influenced by man's own will? How far can God countenance evil? and questions of a similar kind belonging to this province. The third is, perhaps, the most comprehensive "basis," and the one that bears most directly upon practical doctrines — viz., the promises and threats, and the names of God, together with various other questions chiefly relating to faith, repentance, infidelity, and error. The fourth is the one that concerns itself with the influence of reason and history upon the transcendental realm of faith. To this chapter belong the mission of prophets, the office of Imam, or head of the Church, and such intricate subtleties as to what constitutes goodness and badness; how far actions are to be condemned on the ground of reason or the "law," etc.

I. One broad line, however, came to be drawn, in the course of time, among these innumerable religious divisions — a line that separated them all into orthodox sects and heterodox sects; orthodox being those only who adopted the oral traditions, or Sunna (q.v.). Of these Sunnites, i.e., traditionists, or believers in the Sunna, there are four divisions, which, though at issue on most points, are yet acknowledged by each other as faithful, and capable of salvation. They are severally designated by the name of the men who in leadership attained to greatest authority. Each of these guides also to this day continues the expounder of the sect by a manual which each left to his adherents as a compend of theology and jurisprudence.

1. The first of these sects are the Hanefites, founded by Abu Hanefa, who died 150 years after the Hegira. They are emphatically called "the followers of reason," while the other three are guided exclusively by tradition. They allow reason to have a principal share on decisions in their legal and other points. To this sect belong chiefly the Turks and Tartars.

2. The second sect are the Malekites, founded by Malek Ibn Ans, who died about 180 of the Hegira at Medina. As one of the chief proofs of his piety and humility, it is recorded that when asked for his decision on forty-eight questions, he would only decide on sixteen, freely confessing his ignorance on the others. In Barbary and other portions of Africa the greatest part of his adherents are found.

3. Mohammed al-Shafei, born in Palestine in 150 of the Hegira, but educated in Mecca, is the founder of the third sect, Shafiites. He was a great enemy to the scholastic divines, and seems altogether to have been of an original cast of mind. He never swore by God, and always took time to consider whether he should at all answer any given questions or hold his peace. The most characteristic saying recorded of him is, "Whosoever pretends to love both the work and the Creator at the same time is a liar." He is accounted of such importance that, according to his contemporaries, "he was as the sun, to the world, and as health to the body;" and all the relations of the traditions of Mohammed were said to have been asleep until he came and awoke them. He appears to have been the first who reduced Moslem jurisprudence to a method, and thus made it, from a number of vague sayings, a science. His followers are now chiefly found in Arabia and Persia.

4. Ahmed Ibn Hanbal founded the fourth sect, the Hanbalites. He was born in 164 of the Hegira, and was a most intimate friend of Shafei. His knowledge of the traditions (of which he could repeat no less than a million) was no less famed than was his piety. He taught that the Koran was not created, but everlastingly subsisted in the essence of God-a doctrine for which he was severely punished by caliph Al-Motasena. On the day of his death, the Mohammedans would have us believe, no less than 20,000 unbelievers (Jews, Christians, and Magians) embraced the Mohammedan faith. Once very numerous, the Hanbalites are now but very rarely met with outside of Arabia.

5. In recent times a new orthodox Mohammedan sect has sprung up, called Wahabis or Wahabites, after their founder, Mohammed Abd-el-Wahab (q.v.). They are intent upon restoring the primitive and vigorous Mohammedanism which they claim does not now exist under the Turks and Persians, whom they call idolatrous. The Wahabis are a sort of Puritanic Iconoclasts, and their power is fast spreading. But their recent history is so mystified that we defer them for consideration under the heading WAHABITES SEE WAHABITES .

II. Much more numerous than the orthodox divisions are the heterodox ones. Immediately after Mohammed's death, and during the early conquests, the contest was chiefly confined to the question of the Imamat. But no sooner were the first days of warfare over than thinking minds began to direct themselves to a closer examination of the faith itself, for which and through which the world was to be conquered, and to the book which preached it, the Koran. The earliest germs of a religious dissension are found in the revolt of the Kharegites against Ali, in the thirty-seventh year of the Hegira (see Ockley, Hist. of the Saracens, 2:50); and several doctors shortly afterwards broached heterodox opinions about predestination and the good and evil to be ascribed to God. These new doctrines were boldly, and in a very advanced form, openly preached by Wasil Ibn Ata; who, for uttering a moderate opinion in the matter of the "sinner," had been expelled from the rigorous school of Basrah. He then formed a school of his own — that of the Separatists or Motazilites, who, together with a number of other "heretical" groups, are variously counted as one, four, or seven sects.

1. The first of these heretical groups, the Motazilites -also called Hoattalites, i.e., those who divest God of his attributes; and Kadarija, i.e., "those who hold. that man has a free will, and deny the strict doctrine of predestination" — is traced back even to Mabad, who, in the time of Mohammed himself, already began to question predestination, by pointing out how kings carry on unjust wars, kill men, and steal their goods, and all the while pretend to be merely executing God's decrees. The real founder of the sect, as such, however, is, as we have already indicated, Wasil Ibn Ata. He denied God's "qualities" — such as knowledge, power, will, life — as leading to, if not directly implying, polytheism. As to predestination itself, this he only allowed to exist with regard to the outward good or evil that befalls man, such as illness or recovery, death or life, but man's actions he held to be entirely in his own hands. God, he said, had given commandments to mankind, and it was not to be supposed that he had, at the same time, preordained that some should disobey these commandments, and that, further, they should be punished for it. Man alone was the agent in his good or evil actions, in his belief or unbelief, obedience or disobedience, and he is rewarded according to his deeds.

(a) These doctrines were further developed by his disciple, Abul-Hudail, who did not deny so absolutely God's "qualities," but modified their meaning in the manner of the Greek philosophers, viz. that every quality was also God's essence. The attributes are thus not without, but within him, and, so far from being a multiplicity, they merely designate the various ways of the manifestations of the Godhead. God's will he declared to be a peculiar kind of knowledge, through which God did what he foresaw to be salutary in the end. Man's freedom' of action is only possible in this world. In the next all will be according to necessary laws immutably preordained. The righteous will enjoy everlasting bliss; and for the wicked everlasting punishment will be decreed. Another very dangerous doctrine of his system was the assumption that before the Koran had been revealed man had already come to the conclusion of right and wrong. By his inner intellect, he held, everybody must and does know — even without the aid of the divinely given commandments — whether the thing he is doing be right or wrong, just or unjust, true or false. He is further supposed to have held that, unless a man be killed by violent means, his life would neither be prolonged nor shortened by "supernatural" agencies, His belief in the traditions was also by no means an absolute one. There was no special security, he said, in a long, unbroken chain of witnesses, considering that one fallible man among them could corrupt the whole truth.

(b) Many were the branches of these Motazilites. There were, apart from the disciples of Abul-Hudail, the Jobbaiasns, who adopted Abu Ali al- Wahhab's (Al-Jobbai's) opinion, to the effect that the knowledge ascribed to God was not an "attribute;" nor was his knowledge "necessary;" nor did sin prove anything as to the belief or unbelief of him who committed it, who would anyhow be subjected to eternal punishment if he died in it, etc.

(c) Besides these, there were the disciples of Abu Hashem — the Hashemites — who held that an infidel was not the creation of God, who could not produce evil.

(d) Another branch were the disciples of Ahmed Ibn Hayet, who held that Christ was the eternal Word incarnate, and assumed a real body; that there were two gods, or creators, one eternal. viz. the Most High God, and the other not eternal, viz. Christ — not unlike the Socinian and Arian theories on this subject; that there is a successive transmigration of the soul from one body into another, and that the last body will enjoy the reward or suffer the punishments due to each soul; and that God will be seen at the resurrection with the eyes of the understanding, not of the body.

(e) Four more divisions of this sect are mentioned, viz. the Jahedhians, whose master's notion about the Koran was that it was "a body that might grow into a man, and sometimes into a beast, or to have, as others put it, two faces — one human, the other that of an animal, according to the different interpretations." He further taught them that the damned would become fire, and thus be attracted by hell; also, that the mere belief in God and the Prophet constituted a "faithful."

(f) Of rather different tendencies was Al-Mozdar, the founder of the branch of the Mozdarians. He not only held the Koran to be uncreated and eternal, but, so far from denying God the power of doing evil, he declared it to be possible for God to be a liar and unjust.

(g) Another branch was formed by the Pasharians, who, while they carried man's free agency rather to excess, yet held that God might doom even an infant to eternal punishment all the while granting that he would be unjust in so doing.

(h) The last of these Motazilite sectarians we shall mention are the Thamamians, who held, after their master, Thamama, that sinners would undergo eternal damnation and punishment; that free actions have- no producing author; and that, at the resurrection, all infidels, atheists, Jews, Christians, Magians, and heretics should be returned to dust.

We cannot in this place enlarge upon the different schools founded by the Motazilites, nor upon their subsequent fate (see for details, Steiner, Mutaziliten; Weil, Gesch. d. Islam. Wiker, and his Gesch. d. Khalifen). The vast cyclopedic development, however, which their doctrines begot, and which resulted in the encyclopedic labors called "The Treatises of the Sincere Brethren and True Friends," will be considered in the article SINCERE BRETHREN SEE SINCERE BRETHREN (q.v.).

2. We now come to the second great heretical group, the Sefatians, or attributionists, who held a precisely contrary view to that of the- Motazilites. With them God's attributes, whether essential or operative, or what they in more recent times have called declarative or historical, i.e. used in historical narration (eyes, face, hand), anthropomorphisms, in fact, were considered eternal. But here, again, lay the germs for more dissensions, and more sects in their own midst. Some, taking this notion of God's attributes in a strictly literal sense, assumed a likeness between God and created things; others gave it a more allegorical interpretation, without, however, entering into any particulars beyond the reiterated doctrine that God had no companion or similitude.

(a) The different sects into which they split were, first, the Asharians, so called from Abul Hasan al-Ashari, who, at first a Motazilite, disagreed with his masters on the point of God's being bound to do always that which is best. He became the founder of a new school, which held (1) that God's attributes are to be held distinct from his essence, and that any literal understanding of the words that stand for God's limbs in the Koran is reprehensible. (2) That predestination must be taken in its most literal meaning, i.e., that God preordains everything. The opinions on this point of man's free will are, however, much divided, as indeed to combine a predestination which ordains every act with man's free choice is not easy; and the old authors hold that it is well not to inquire too minutely into these things, lest all precepts, both positive and negative, be argued away. The middle path, adopted by the greater number of the doctors, is expressed in this formula: There is neither compulsion nor free liberty, but the way lies between the two; the power and will being both created by God, though the merit or guilt be imputed to man. Regarding mortal sin, it was held by this sect that if a believer die guilty of it without repentance, he will not, for all that, always remain a denizen of hell. God will either pardon him, or the Prophet will intercede on his behalf, as he says in the Koran: "My intercession shall be employed for those among my people who shall have been guilty of grievous crimes;" and further, that he in whose heart there is faith but of the weight of an ant shall be delivered from hell-fire.

(b) From this more philosophical opinion, however, departed a number of other Sefatian sects, who, taking the Koranic words more literally, transformed God's attributes into grossly corporeal things, like the Mosshabehites, or assimilators, who conceived God to be a figure composed of limbs like those of created beings, either of a bodily or spiritual nature, capable of local motion, ascent or descent, etc. The notions of some actually went so far as to declare God to be "hollow from the crown of the head to the breast, and solid from the breast downward; he also had black curled hair."

(c) Another subdivision of this sect were the Jabians, who deny to man all free agency, and make all his deeds dependent on God. Their name indicates their religious tendency sufficiently, meaning "Necessitarians."

III. The third principal division of "heretical sects" is formed by the Kharegites, or "rebels" from the lawful prince — i.e., Ali — the first of whom were the 12,000 men who fell away from him after having fought under him at the battle of Seffein, taking offence at his submitting the decision of his right to the caliphate (against Moawiyyah) to arbitration. Their "heresy" consisted, first, in their holding that any man might be called to the Imamat though he did not belong to the Koreish, nor was even a freeman, provided he was a just and pious man, and fit in every other respect. It also followed that an unrighteous imam might be deposed, or even put to death; and further, that there was no absolute necessity for any imam in the world.

IV. The fourth principal sect are the Shiites, or sectaries, so called by the Sunnites, or orthodox Moslems, because of their heretical tendencies. The Shiites, as they are now generally called, were originated by Ali Ibn Abi Taleb, and prefer to call themselves Al-Adeliat, Sect of the Just Ones, or familiarly, "Followers of Ali," because they believe that the Imamat, or supreme rule, both spiritual and temporal, over all Mohammedans was originally vested in him whom they acknowledge as their founder, and that the Imamat now of right belongs to his descendants. In the opinion of the Shiites, the vicarship of the Prophet, was not to be, like an earthly kingdom, the mere prize of craft or of valor. It was the inalienable heritage of the sacred descendants of the Prophet himself. They therefore consider the caliphs Abu Bekr, Omar, and Othman, the first three incumbents of the caliphate after Mohammed, unrighteous pretenders and usurpers of the sovereign power, which properly ought to have gone to Ali direct from the Prophet. For the same reason the Shiites abominate the memory of the Ommayad caliph who executed Hossein, a son of Ali, and still mourn his death at its anniversary. (This most pathetic story is perhaps generally remembered from the pages of Gibbon; it should be read in its full detail in those of Ockley and Price.) The Shiites likewise reject the Abbasside caliphs, notwithstanding their descent from Mohammed, because they did not belong to Ali's line. SEE KALIPH.

The Shiites have special observances, ceremonies, and rites, as well as particular dogmas of their own. They believe in metempsychosis and the descent of God upon his creatures, inasmuch as he, omnipresent, sometimes appears in some individual person, such as their imams. They are subdivided into five sects, to one of which, that of Haidar, the Persians belong — the present dynasty of Persia deriving its descent from Haidar. Their five subdivisions they compare to five trees, with seventy branches: for their minor divisions of opinions, on matters of comparatively unimportant points of dogma, are endless. The Shiites and Sunnites are, then, represented respectively by the two great Mohammedan powers, the former being upheld by the Persian dynasty, the latter by the Ottomans. This division between Turk and Persian on doctrine dates chiefly from the caliphate of Mothi Lilla, the Abbasside, in 363 of the Hegira, when political dissensions, which ended in the destruction of Bagdad and the loss.. of the caliphate of the Moslems, assumed the character of a religious war. But it may be stated here also that the Shiites are by no means confined to Persia. They have indeed, in greater or lesser numbers, been dispersed, throughout all 'the countries of the empire of the Mussulmans. They have possessed several kingdoms both in Asia and Africa. They are now dominant, outside of Persia, in half the territory ruled over by the princes of the Uzbecks, and situated beyond the river Gihon; and there are some Mohammedan kings of the Indies who make profession of the Shiite faith. Mohammed's life, as represented by Shiite tradition,, has been furnished in an English dress by the Reverend James L. Merrick (Bost. 1850).

V. It remains now only to mention a few of the more prominent of the many pseudo-prophets who have arisen in the bosom of Islam, drawing a certain number of adherents around them, and, as it would appear to us "outsiders," threatening by this decentralization the very life of Mohammedanism, but by the Moslems themselves alleged as a sign of the purity of their creed. Christianity, they say, an improvement on Judaism, can boast of more sects than Judaism; Islam, an improvement on Christianity, can boast of more sects than Christianity.

The pseudo-prophets who have arisen have invariably either declared themselves the great Prophet's legal successors, or, utterly renouncing his doctrines, have sought to build up on the ruins of Islam. The first and most prominent among these was Mosaylima (i.e., little Moslem), who was a rival of the Prophet in his lifetime. Mosaylima belonged to the. clan Dul, a division of the tribe of the Bani Hanifah, of Yamama in Nejed. The traditions about his life and age appear to be extremely legendary. It is, however, tolerably clear that he had risen to a certain eminence in his tribe as a religious teacher before Mohammed assumed his prophetical office. The name he was known by among his friends was Rahman, the Benignant or Merciful; a term which Mohammed adopted as a designation of God' himself. This word, which is Aramaic, was a common divine epithet among the Jews, from whom Mohammed took it, together with a vast bulk' of dogmas and ceremonies and legends. If, however, as is supposed by some, Mosaylima assumed that name in the meaning of Messiah Saviour, it would prove that he had anticipated Mohammed in the apostleship, which is commonly denied. It was in the ninth year of the Hegira that, at the head of an embassy sent by his tribe, he appeared before Mohammed, in order to settle certain points of dispute, The traditions are very contradictory on the circumstance whether or not Mosaylima was then already the reeognised spiritual leader of his tribe. When they were introduced to Mohammed in the mosque, they greeted him with the orthodox salutation of Moslems, "Salam alayk" (Peace upon thee), and, after a brief parley, recited the confession of faith. Shortly after this event, Mosaylima openly professed himself to be a prophet, like Mohammed. The latter sent a messenger to him, as soon as he heard of this, to request him to reiterate publicly his profession of Islam. Mosaylima's answer was a request that Mohammed should share his power with him. "From Mosaylima, the apostle of God," he wrote, according to Abulfeda, "to Mohammed, the apostle of God. Now let the earth be half mine, and half thine." Mohammed speedily replied "From Mohammed, the apostle of God, to Mosaylima, the liar. The earth is God's: he giveth the same for inheritance unto such of his servants as he pleases, and the happy issue shall attend those who fear him." Yet notwithstanding these testimonies, of probably late dates, it seems, on the other hand, quite certain that Mohammed made very great concessions to his rival-concessions that point to his having secretly nominated Mosaylima his successor, and that he by this means bought Mosaylima's open allegiance during his lifetime. It was not a question of dogmas, though they each had special revelations, but a question of supremacy, which was thus settled amicably. "Mohammed," Mosaylima said, "is appointed by God to settle the principal points of faith, and I to supplement them." He further had a revelation, in accordance with Mohammed's: "We have sent to every nation its own prophet," to the effect: "We have given unto thee [Mosaylima] a number of people; keep them to thyself, and advance. But be cautious, and desire not too much; and do not enter into rival fights." When Mohammed was at the point of death, he desired to write his will. Whatever he may have wished to ordain is uncertain; it is well known, at all events, that his friends did not obey his order, and refused to furnish him with writing materials, very probably because they did not like' to be bound by his last injunctions. Sprenger supposes that he wished formally .to appoint Mosaylima his successor, and that it was just this which his surrounding relations feared. Mosaylima then openly declared against Islam, and many parodies of the Koran sprang up in the Nejed, ascribed to him. In the eleventh year of the Hegira it at last came to an open breach between the two rival powers. Abu Bekr, the caliph, sent Khalid, "the Sword of the Faith," with a number of choice troops, to compel Mosaylinma to submission. Mosavlima awaited the enemy at Rowdah, a village in the Wadi Hanifah. So formidable indeed was Mosaylima's force that Khalid is said to have hesitated for a whole day and night before he undertook an assault unanimously disapproved of by his council. On the second morning, however, he advanced, and, in a battle which lasted until the evening, contrived, with fearful losses of his own, to gain the victory. Mosaylima fell by the hands of a negro slave, and his head was cut off by the conqueror, and placed at the head of a spear, to convince both friends and foes of his death. Khalid then advanced to the slain prophet's birthplace, in order to slay all its inhabitants. They, however, by a clever stratagem, contrived to conclude an honorable peace, and embraced Islam. The Mosayliman "heresy" was thus stamped out, and only a few scattered remnants of the new faith contrived to escape to Hasa and Basrah, where they may have laid the foundation of the later Karmathian creed. SEE KARMATHIANS. It is extremely difficult to come to any clear notion of Mosaylima's real doctrines, as all the accounts that have survived of them come from victorious adversaries — adversaries who have not hesitated to invent the most scandalous stories about him. Thus a love-adventure between Mosaylima and the prophetess Sajah, the wife of a soothsayer of Yamima, who is supposed to have staved three days in his tent, is told with great minuteness, even to the obscene conversation that is supposed to have taken place between them during that time; the fact being that this story, which is still told with much relish by the natives, is without the slightest foundation. From the same source we learn that Mosaylima tried to deceive his followers by conjuring tricks. It seems, on the contrary, that he was of much higher moral standing than Mohammed himself. For it is said that Mosaylima enjoined the highest chastity even among married people: unless there were hope of begetting children, there should be restriction of conjugal duty. Even the nickname "Little Moslem" given to him seems to indicate that he, too, preached the unity of God, or Islam as the fundamental doctrine of faith. How far his religion had a socialistic tendency, and offered less show of dignity and outward morality to its followers, or whether it rejected fatalism, contained an idea of incarnation, and invested its preachers and teachers with a semi-mediatorial character, as the latest explorer of the Nejed, Mr. Palgrave tells us, we have no means of judging. But we must receive these conclusions, probably drawn from the information of the natives, with all the greater caution, as that story of the prophetess Sajah, whom he reports, after his informants, not only to have been properly married to Mosaylima, but to have become, after his death, a devout partisan of Islam, and to have entered an "orthodox alliance," does not, as we have said before, according to the best European authorities on Mohammedanism, deserve the slightest credence.

Next to Mosaylima figures prominently Al-Aswad, originally called Aihala, of the tribe of Ans, of which, as well as of that of a number of other tribes, he was governor. He pretended to receive certain revelations from two angels, Sohaik and Shoraik. Certain feats of legerdemain and a natural eloquence procured him a number of followers, by whose aid he made himself master of several provinces. A counter-revolution, however, broke out the night before Mohammed's death, and Al-Aswad's head was cut off; whereby an end was put to a rebellion of exactly four months' duration, but already assuming large proportions.

In the same year (11 of the Hegira), but after Mohammed's death, a man named Toleiha set up as a prophet, but with very little success. He, his tribe, and followers were met in open battle by Khalid, at the head of the troops of the Faithful, and, being beaten, had all finally to submit to Islam.

A few words ought also to be said regarding the "Veiled Prophet," Al- Mokanna, or Borkai, whose real name was Hakem Ibn Hashem, at the time of Al-Mohdi, the third Abbasside caliph. He used to hide the deformity of his face (he had also but one eye) by a gilded mask, a circumstance which his followers explained by the splendor of his countenance being too brilliant (like that of Moses) to be borne by ordinary mortals. Being a proficient in jugglery besides, which went for the power of working miracles, he soon drew many disciples and followers around him. At last he arrogated the office of the Deity itself, which, by continual transmigrations from Adam downwards, had at last resided in the body of Abu Moslem, the governor of Khorassan, whose secretary this new prophet had been. The caliph, finding him growing more and more formidable every day, sent a force against him, which finally drove him back into one of his strongest fortresses, where he first poisoned and then burned all his family; after which he threw himself into the flames, which consumed him completely, except his hair. He had left a message however, to the effect that he would reappear in the shape of a gray man riding on a gray beast, and many of his followers for many years after expected his reappearance. They wore as a distinguishing mark nothing but white garments. He died about the middle' of the 2d century of the Hegira. SEE MOKANNA.

Of the Karmathians and the Ismaelians we have spoken under their respective headings. We can scarcely enumerate among the prophets Abul Teyeb Ahmed al-Motanebbi, one of the most celebrated Arabic poets, who mistook, or pretended to mistake, his poetical inspiration for the divine afflatus, and caused several tribes to style him prophet, as his surname indicates, and to acknowledge his mission. The governor of his province, Lilui, took prompt steps to stifle any such pretensions in the bud by imprisoning him, and making him formally renounce all absurd pretensions to a prophetical office. The poet did so with all speed. He was richly rewarded by the court and many princes for his minstrelsy, to which thenceforth he clung exclusively; but the riches he thus accumulated became the cause of his death. Robbers attacked him while he was returning to his home in Kufa, there to live upon the treasure bestowed upon him by Adado'ddawla, sultan of Persia.

The last of the new prophets to be mentioned is Baba, who appeared in Amasia, in Natolia, in 1221 of the Hegira, and who had immense success, chiefly with the Turcomans, his own nation, so that at last he found himself at the head of nearly a million men, horse and foot. Their war-cry was, God is God, and Baba — not Mohammed — is his prophet. It was not until both Christians and Mohammedans combined for the purpose of self- defence that this new and most formidable power was annihilated, its armies being routed and put to the sword, while the two chiefs were decapitated by the executioner. SEE BABISTS. See Weil; Geschichte der Khalifen; and his Geschichte des Mohammedanismus; Taylor, History of Mohammedanism; and the works referred to in the article SEE MOHAMMEDANISM.

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