9 ARABIAN DOCTRINES AND PRACTICES

of Abraham's time, yet in the Holy Scriptures we find no mention of Mecca, procession round the Kaaba, the Black Stone, the other Holy Places, etc.; nor can there be any doubt that all these things were the gradual creation of idol worshippers, and had no connection whatever with the faith and tenets of Father Abraham.

It is interesting also to note that some verses of the Qur'an have without doubt been taken from poems anterior to Muhammad's assumption of the prophetic office, in proof of which two passages in the Sabaa Moallaq‚t of Imra'ul Cays etc. are quoted, in which several verses of the Qur'an occur, such as, "The hour has come, and shattered is the moon."1 It was the custom of the time for poets and orators to hang up their compositions upon the Kaaba; and we know the Seven Moallaq‚t were so exposed. We are told that Fatima, the Prophet's daughter, was one day repeating as she went along, the above verse. Just then she met the daughter of Imra'ul Cays, who cried out: "O that's what your father has taken from one of my father's poems, and calls it something that has come down to him out of heaven"; and the story is commonly told amongst the Arabs until now.

The connection between the poetry of Imra'ul Cays and the Qur'an is so obvious that the Muslim cannot but hold that they existed with the latter in the Heavenly Table from all eternity! What then will


1 The two passages given by our Author from the Sabaa Moallaq‚t contain several verses, more or less similar to the Qur'an: — Surah liv. 1, xxix. 31 and 46, xxxvii. 59, xxi. 96, xciii. 1; this last, — By the brightness of the morning; and by the night when it groweth dark. The passages noted are the same in both, with occasionally a few verbal differences.

THE SOURCES OF ISLAM 10

he answer? That the words were taken from the Qur'an and entered in the poem, — an impossibility. Or that their writer was not really Imra'ul Cays, but some other who, after the appearance of the Qur'an, had the audacity to quote them there as they now appear; — rather a difficult thing to prove![1]

In concluding this chapter we have no difficulty in asserting with every confidence that the customs, rites, and beliefs of the ancient Arabs, formed one of the most important Sources of the Qur'an.


[1] [Rev. W. St. Clair-Tisdall changed his opinion on this matter after the publication of this book and saw no longer adequate evidence to support the assertion that Muhammad used the poetry of Imra'ul Cays in the Qur'an.  Therefore this assertion was withdrawn in a later, more complete work by the same author.  This issue is discussed in detail in an article entitled, "Did Muhammad Plagiarize Imrau'l Qais?"]