were withheld; and Mahomet, plunged in deep
depression, thought to cast himself headlong from a height; but was held
back by the same heavenly messenger. Shortly after this, as, wrapped in his
garments, he lay stretched upon his carpet, the angel addressed him in these
"Oh, thou that art covered!
Arise and preach!
And magnify thy Lord;
And purify thy clothes;
And depart from uncleanness.
And show not thy favours in the hope of aggrandisement;
But wait patiently for thy Lord."
Here was now the commission to preach. Mahomet was constituted the
Messenger of the Lord and his Apostle, and thenceforward revelations began
to follow with frequency one upon another.
Such is the tradition concerning the first beginnings of inspiration in
the mind of Mahomet. Some of the shorter Suras, couched. in ecstatic
language, were probably delivered at a still earlier period. The reader must
bear in mind that the Corân professes to be a revelation proceeding
immediately from the Almighty. Its contents are nowhere subjective; that is,
they nowhere represent the aspirations of an inspired heart, or the
teachings of a prophet himself enlightened of God. Word for word, the
revelation comes direct from heaven. The formula, "Speak, thus saith
the Lord," either precedes every single sentence, or must be so
understood. Thus, to the Moslem, the Corân is in the truest sense Divine;
and as such it was meant by Mahomet to be received.