Mohammedanism, the name commonly given in Christian countries to the religion established by Mohammed. The Mohammedans do not themselves acknowledge the name. They call their religion Islam, which means "full submission to God," and themselves Moslems, or "the people of the Islam." Mohammed designated himself as the restorer of the pure religion revealed by God to Abraham. As the messenger of God lie required his pagan countrymen to leave their idols and adopt the worship of the one true God; the Jews, to exchange the law of Moses for the new and final revelations given to him; the Christians, to cease worshipping Christ as God, as inconsistent with monotheism and with the true doctrine of Christ himself. The doctrines of Mohammedanism may in large measure be traced to the national religion of the Arabs before Mohammed, to those forms of Judaism and Christianity which existed in Arabia in his time, and to those traditions and usages which were the common heritage of all branches of the Semitic race. To what extent Mohammed borrowed from these three sources the profound researches instituted during the last'half century have begun to reveal. - The sayings of Mohammed relative to his religion were collected in the Koran, which is recognized by all Mohammedan sects as their rule of faith and morals. (See Koran.) But the great majority of the Moslems recognize, in addition to the Koran, the Sunna, or traditions, embodying the expressions, occasional remarks, and acts of Mohammed, which are traced to his companions, his wives, and the first caliphs.
Not only do they regulate, conjointly with the Koran, the doctrines, rites, and ceremonies of the Mohammedans, but the interpretation of the Koran is in a great measure determined by them. There is much uncertainty among the Moslems regarding them; the rationalistic Montasals and the extremists among the Shi-ahs reject the Sunna altogether; the moderate Shiahs acknowledge a tradition, but differ with the Sunnis respecting its extent. (See Shiahs, and Sunna.) Among the Sunnis four orthodox schools were distinguished, all established between 740 and 840. They were called, after their founders, Hanifites, Malekites, Shafe-ites, and Hanbalites. The first and fourth were of little influence; the second prevailed in northern Africa and Spain, and the third in the eastern countries. Their differences were only in discipline. The two largest and most influential collections were made by Bokhari (died about 870) and Abu Moslim his pupil. An extract from these two and some later collections was made by Hosein ibn Masud (died about 1120), under the title Masabih. It was translated into English, together with a commentary (Mishcat) by Wadi ed-Din Abu Abdallah Mah-moud, who lived about 1170, by A. N. Mathews ("Mishcat ul-MasaMh, or a Collection of the most Authentic Traditions," 2 vols., Calcutta, 1809-'ll). Most of the traditions received by the Shiahs are contained in the books Hay at ul-Kulul), Hag ul-Yaquin, and Ain nl-IIayat, written by Mollah Mohammed Bakir Majlisi, a famous Persian divine, who lived about 1650, which were printed in Teheran in 4 vols. fol.
In the 8th and 9th centuries the rationalistic school, called by their opponents Montasals or Separatists, gained great strength and influence. Their chief seat was at Bassorah, where they formed an association of rationalistic scholars.
They maintained the absolute self-determination of man, denied the eternity of the Koran, and rejected the reality of the divine attributes so far as to divest God of all those characteristics which are the expression of a personal existence. In the 10th century an orthodox school of scholasticism regained the ascendancy, and from this time the doctrines and the ethics of the prevailing denomination underwent no other considerable change. The gradual development of Mohammedan doctrines and their relation to the Koran are still subjects of controversy. We give an outline of the system of doctrines and ethics which generally prevails. - The fundamental doctrine of Islamism, and the only one which it is absolutely necessary to profess in order to be considered a Moslem, is: "There is but one God, and Mohammed is his apostle." The idea of God held by Mohammedans does not differ essentially from the Christian, except that they reject entirely the doctrine of the Trinity. They believe that a great number of prophets have been divinely commissioned at various times, among whom six were sent to proclaim new laws and dispensations, viz., Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed. To the prophets were revealed certain scriptures inspired by God. All of these have perished except four, the Pentateuch, the Psalms, the Gospel, and the Koran. The first three, they maintain, have been falsified and mutilated, and the Koran supersedes them all.
Mohammed is the last prophet, and the Koran the final revelation. The Mohammedans regard Christ with a reverence second only to that which they pay to Mohammed, and blasphemy of his name is punishable with death. But they deny that he is God or the son of God, though they consider his birth miraculous. They also deny that he was crucified, believing that some other person suffered in his place, while he was taken up to God. He will come again upon the earth to destroy Antichrist, and his coming will be one of the signs of the approach of the last judgment. The Moslems believe in the existence of angels with pure and subtile bodies created of fire, who have no distinction of sex, neither eat nor drink, and are employed in adoring and praising God, interceding for mankind, keeping a record of human actions, and performing various other services. Four are held by God in peculiar favor: Gabriel, who is employed in writing down the divine decrees, and by whom the Koran was revealed at various times to Mohammed; Michael, the especial guardian of the Jews; Azrael, the "angel of death," who separates the souls of men from their bodies; and Israfil, who will sound the trumpet at the resurrection.
There is also a class of beings lower than the angels, like them made of fire, but of a coarser nature, called jinns (generally rendered genii), who cat and drink and are subject to death. Some of these are good, some evil. The chief of the latter is Eblis or "despair," who was once an angel named Azazel, but who, having refused to pay "homage to Adam, was'rejected by God, and wanders over the earth until the resurrection. These genii have various names, as peri, fairies; die, giants, fates &e. In regard to the state of man during the time between death and the resurrection, raanv different opinions prevail. There are also different views as to the last judgment, but the essential point agreed upon by all is that men will have awarded to them that condition of happiness or misery to which Clod shall judge them entitled by their conduct and belief during this life. The time of the resurrection is known only to God; its approach will he indicated by certain signs, among which will he the decay of faith among men, wars, seditions, tumults, the advancement of the meanest men to the highest dignities, an eclipse, the rising of the sun in the west, and numerous other portents.
After the judgment all must pass over the bridge Al-Sirat, which is finer than a hair, sharper than a sword, and beset on either side with thorns. The good will pass over easily and speedily; the wicked will fall headlong into hell. The delights of heaven are for the most part sensual, made up of pleasures especially suited to each of the senses, while the torments of hell consist chiefly in the extremes of heat and cold. For those who wish more of detail as to their views of the future state, the preliminary discourse to Sale's translation of the Koran is the most accessible work. The Moslems hold that all who believe in the unity of (rod will finally be released from punishment and enter paradise. Those who deny the absolute unity of God, idolaters, and hypocrites will suffer eternally. To hypocrites they assign the lowest place in hell. They believe in the absolute foreknowledge and predestination of all things by God, and at the same time in the responsibility of man for hid conduct and belief. - Their practical religion, which they call din, chiefly insists upon four things: 1, purification and prayer, which they regard as together making one rite; 2, almsgiving 3, fasting; 4, the pilgrimage to Mecca. Prayer must be preceded by ablution; cleanliness is regarded as a religious duty, without which prayer would be ineffectual.
The Moslems pray five times each day, soon after sunset (not exactly at sunset, for fear they should be considered sun worshippers), at nightfall (generally about an hour and a quar-cr after sunset), at daybreak, near noon, and in the afternoon. The times of prayer are announced by the muezzins (mueddzins) from the minarets of the mosques. In praying, the believer must turn his face toward Mecca, and the wall of the mosque nearest that city is marked by a niche. Twice during the night the muezzins also call to prayer, for those who wish to perform extra devotions. Prayers may be said in any clean place, but on Friday must be said in the mosque. The regularity and devotion with which the Moslems perform this duty are testified to by all who have visited the East. 'Women are not forbidden to enter the mosque, hut they never do so when the men are at their devotions. Before prayer all costly and sumptuous apparel must be laid aside. Almsgiving was formerly of two kinds: legal, called tzekah, and voluntary, called sadakah. The former was in reality a tax paid to the sovereign, and by him distributed as he saw fit; it has long since fallen into disuse. The sadakah consists of cattle, money, corn, fruits, and wares sold.
It is given once a year, and generally amounts to about 2 1/2 per cent, of the stock on hand; hut no alms are due unless the stock amounts to a certain quantity, nor unless the articles have been in the owner's possession for eleven months. At the end of the fast of Ramadan every Moslem is expected to give alms if he is able, for himself and each member of his family - a measure of wheat, rice, or other provisions. The Moslems also lay great stress upon fasting. During the whole of the month Ramadan they fast from the rising to the setting of the sun; they neither eat nor drink nor indulge in any other physical gratification. They observe this fast with great rigor, but certain classes of persons to whom the fast would be physically injurious are excused from its observance. There are other days during which fasting is regarded as specially meritorious though not obligatory, and fasting at any time is regarded as peculiarly acceptable to God. The pilgrimage to Mecca, called hadj, is a relic of the ancient idolatrous religion which Mohammed desired to do away with, but which was too deeply rooted in the habits and interests of the people to be abolished. Hence he sanctioned it and made it obligatory, having first destroyed the idols in the temple and introduced new regulations.
All Moslems, men or women, should at least once during their lives, provided they are able, make the pilgrimage to Mecca. The duty may be performed by a substitute, in which case the whole merit redounds to the principal. lie who has performed this pilgrimage is entitled to prefix to his name the word hadji. Of late years the number of pilgrims has greatly fallen off. - The Moslems regard the Koran not only as the rule of their religious but also of their civil and social life. Before the time of Mohammed it was not uncommon among the Arabs to put to death their female children. This practice was forbidden by him. The following things are also forbidden in the Koran: eating of blood, or the flesh of swine, or of any animal that dies of itself, or has been strangled or killed bv accident or by another beast, or has been slain as a sacrifice to an idol; playing games of chance, whether with or without a wager; the drinking of wine or of any inebriating liquor, but some construe this prohibition as only applicable to their excessive use, while a few of the very strict construe it as applying to opium, bang, and even coffee and tobacco; the taking of interest upon money lent, even when the loan is made to a person of a different religion, divination, and various other superstitious practices.
Murder seems to be regarded by the Koran as a crime against individuals rather than against society; hence it was punishable with death or a pecuniary line, at the option of the family of the murdered man. But at present in the Turkish empire murder is punished with death, and commutation by fine is not permitted. If a believer kill another accidentally, the slayer must pay a fine and redeem a believer from slavery. The punishment for theft is cutting off the hand, but in modern times this has generally fallen into disuse, and the bastinado or imprisonment has been substituted. Polygamy existed among all the Semitic nations previous to the time of Mohammed, and he restricted rather than extended it. While claiming for himself special privileges in regard to his domestic relations, asserting that they were allowed him by the direct permission of God, he limited the number of wives which a true believer might take to four. Divorce is very easy in theory, but very rare in practice. The husband has merely to say to his wife, " Thou art divorced." He may receive her back, and again divorce her; but if he divorce her a third time, he cannot take her back until after she has been married to some other man and been divorced by him, or has become a widow.
Aside from the domestic relations, the ethics of the Mohammedan religion are of the highest order. Pride, calumny, revengefulness, avarice, prodigality, and debauchery are condemned throughout the Koran; while trust in God and submission to his will, patience, modesty, forbearance, love of peace, sincerity, truthfulness, frugality, benevolence, liberality - indeed, aside from the differences of opinion in regard to theological subjects, all those qualities which the Anglo-Saxon race have idealized under the term "Christian gentleman," are everywhere in-sisted upon. Mysticism and asceticism were early cultivated by the Moslems, and called forth Sufism, the monachism of the Islam, a phenomenon of the greatest importance for a right understanding of the true character and the bearing of their doctrinal system. - On their first promulgation the doctrines of Mohammed spread with amazing rapidity. In 12 years the whole of Arabia had embraced the Islam. Abubekr, the first caliph, declared war against all nations, especially against the emperor of Constantinople and "the great king of Persia," at that time the two most powerful monarchs of the world.
The battle of Bostra opened Syria to the Arabs; and one of the first feats of Omar, the successor of Abubekr, was the conquest of Damascus. Soon afterward a battle near the lake of Gennesaret decided the fate of Syria. Jerusalem capitulated on easy terms, and with brief interruptions has remained subject to the Mohammedans, and is one of their three holy cities. Amru, a general of Omar, completed the conquest of Egypt, and fairly commenced that of northern Africa. On the S. shore of the Mediterranean the Arabs met with little resistance. Soon after the death of Omar, Persia was entered by Khaled, Irak or Assyria was subdued and plundered, the Euphrates together with the gulf of Persia fell into the hands of the Arabs, and Ctesiphon and Farsistan, whither the king of Persia had fled, came under Moslem domination. On the appointment of Ali to the caliphate those great internal struggles commenced which have ever since rent the Mohammedan world, without however arresting its external growth. Moawiyah, the rival of Ali, took possession of most of the Persian provinces, and established the vIslam in Europe by getting a foothold in Sicily. He was still more fortunate in Africa, and from 697 the whole of northern Africa may be considered as the home of Islamism. At the beginning of the 8th century the Mohammedans, under Tarik, crossed to Spain; one province after another was speedily subdued, and for 800 years the Saracens retained a dominion in that country.
A few years later Abderrahman with a force of 400,000 Moslems entered Gaul, but they were defeated in the decisive battle between Tours and Poitiers by Charles Martel (A. D. 732), which put a final stop to their progress in western Europe. They advanced eastward into China and India; in the former country their progress was soon stayed, but in the latter they founded vast empires on the shores of the Indus and Ganges, which for a long time were strongholds of Islamism. Fresh energy was infused into the Moslem community by the accession of the Seljuk Turks. Being called to his aid by Mohammed ben Jubriel, they seized upon Persia, mastered a portion of the Byzantine empire, and established one of the seats of their government at Iconium or Konieh. Having withstood the repeated attacks of the Christian world during the period of the crusades, they were overrun by other Tartar tribes, who passed over Persia, Armenia, and Asia Minor, and laid the foundation of the empire of the Ottomans, or Turks properly so called. Both the Seljuks and their successors, the Osmanlis, voluntarily received Islamism from the people whom they conquered.
The Ottoman rulers gradually undermined the Byzantine empire; Amurath I. entered Europe and made Adrian-ople his capital; Amurath II. left nothing to the Greek emperor but Constantinople; and Mohammed II. struck the fatal blow, taking ,. Constantinople in 1453. The Ottoman em- ' pire, and with it the political power of the Islam, were now at their zenith; the Turks became for many centuries the terror of Italy, Hungary, and Germany, but Christendom soon ceased to suffer any considerable losses by their advance. On the other hand, the Christian nations began to conquer considerable portions of Moslem territory. Sicily had been lost before this period; in Spain their last strongholds were taken in 1492. Greece commenced its successful struggle for independence in 1821; Alfiriers was wrested from them in 1830; and the dependence of the Danubian principalities on the Ottoman Porte long since ime merely nominal. But Mohammedanism continues to make peaceable conversions in the interior of Africa, where many of the most intelligent tribes and kingdoms have adopted the Arabic faith and culture.
Several nations of the Indian archipelago have been converted at a recent period, and in Malabar the Mohammedans purchase or procure children of the lower classes to bring them up in the "true faith." Hut while the Islam advances among races inferior to the original Mohammedans in point of civilization, its foremost representative among the great nations, the Ottoman empire, lives avowedly at the mercy of the great powers of Europe; Persia and Turkistan have felt the superiority of Russia, and Morocco has been defeated by Spain. - The total number of Mohammedans at the present time is estimated at about 180,000,000. In Europe they are almost confined to Turkey, and even there they form but a fourth of the population, about 4,000,000 out of 16,500,000 (including Rouma-nia), and are constantly decreasing. In European Russia they count about 2,400,000 souls; in Asiatic Russia, 5,000,000. They prevail in Asiatic Turkey, Persia, Afghanistan, Beloo-chistan, Arabia, and Tartary, and are largely represented in India and the Indian archipelago, and to some extent in China. In India the census of 1872 revealed the fact that the number of Mohammedans, as well as of the, total population, had been greatly underestimated.
Their number had been placed at 25,000,000, but they are now estimated at 41.000.000. The fact that the Mohammedan religion ignores all distinctions of caste, and it once raises the new convert to full social equality, tends greatly to promote its spread among the Hindoo population. It is believed that in Africa about 100,000,000 maybe set down as Mohammedans. In America and Australia they are not represented at all. More detailed accounts of the several national branches of Mohammedans will be found in the articles devoted to the Mohammedan conn-See also the articles on the Arabic, Persian, and Turkish literatures. - One of the best treatises on Mohammedanism is that of Dollinger, Muhammed's Religion nach Hirer innern Entmckebma und ihrem Einflusse auf das Lrben der Vollcer (Ratisbon, 1838). See also Taylor, -History of Mohammedanism;" Mill. "Mohammedanism" (London, 1817)-Arnold, "Ishmael, or a Natural History of Mamism" (1859); "Islam, its History, Charter, and Relation to Christianity" (Boston, 1874); and works cited under Mohammed.