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Notes on Muhammadanism

by Thomas Patrick Hughes


Whoso desireth any other religion than Islam, that religion shall never be accepted of him, and in the next world he shall be lost."

Those who profess the religion of Islam are called Musulmans, Muslims, or Momins.

AM i Kitdb, "the people of the book," is also used for Muslims, but it is also applied to Jews and Christians by the author of the Quran.


The Muhammadan rule of faith is based upon what are called the four foundations of orthodoxy, namely, the Quran, or, as it is called, Kalam Ullah, the Word of God; the Hadis (pi. Ahadls), or the traditions of the sayings and practice of Muhammad; the Ijma', or the consent of the Mujtahidin, or learned doctors; and Qids, or the analogical reasoning of the learned with regard to precepts and practice of the Prophet.

In studying the Muhammadan religious system it must be well understood that Islamism is not simply the religion of the Quran, but that all Muhammadans, whether Sunni Shia', or Wahabi receive the Sunna (or the Hadis) as an authority in matters of faith and practice. The Sunni Muhammadans arrogate to themselves the title of traditionists, but the Shias also receive the Hadis as binding upon them, although they do not acknowledge the same collection of traditions as those received by their opponents. The Wahabis receive the "six correct books of the Sunnis." The example of Muhammad is just as binding upon the Muslim, as that of Him who said " Learn of me" is upon the Christian. Very many were the injunctions which the "prophet" gave as to the transmission of his sayings and practice, and very elaborate is the canon whereby Muslims arrive at what they believe to be the example of their prophet. If, therefore, the grand and elaborate system of morals as expressed in the law of Islam has failed to raise the standard of morality amongst the nations of the earth which have embraced its creed, it is not unreasonable to conclude that its failure rests in the absence of a living example of truth.

The teaching of the Quran and Hadis is

called Usui (lit. roots), and that of divines is called Fikah. A well-read theologian amongst Muslims is said to be well up in "Fikah



The word Quran is derived from the word qaraa, to recite or proclaim. It is the name given to the Muhammadan scriptures, which are usually appealed to as the " Quran Majid" the glorious Quran, or the " Quran Sharif" the noble Quran. Furqdn, or that which is divided into sections, Al Kitdb, the book, and Al Moshaf, the volume, are also titles commonly given to the Quran.

The Quran is written in Arabic prose, but its sentences generally conclude in a long continued rhyme. The language is universally allowed to be of the utmost elegance and purity, and it has therefore become the standard of the Arabic tongue. Muhammadams believe that it is a book, the language and style of composition of which are inimitable by any human pen.

"The sources whence Muhammad derived the materials of his Quran are, over and above the more poetical parts, which are his own creation, the legends of his time and country, Jewish traditions based upon the Talmud, or perverted to suit his own purposes, and the floating Christian traditions of Arabia and S. Syria." * There is, however, another view which is advocated by the late Mr. Emanuel Deutsch, f namely, that Muhammadanism owes more to Judaism than either to Heathenism or to Christianity, and that it is neither more nor less than Judaism as adapted to Arabia—plus the Apostleship of Jesus and Muhammad, and that a great deal of the Christianity which is found in the Quran was derived from Jewish sources.

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