and she retired to her father's house. Several weeks elapsed thus, when at

Sura XXIV.

length the Prophet was supernaturally apprised of her innocence; and the law was promulgated which requires four eye-witnesses to establish the charge of adultery, in default of which the imputation is to be punished as a slander. And so Ayesha was taken back, and her accusers beaten with stripes.

About this time certain commands were also issued for the veiling of women

Sura XXV

when they walk abroad, and for the decent regulation of social and domestic intercourse. These were more stringent in the case of the Prophet's own wives, who, in case of incontinence, were threatened with a double punishment. They were not as other women,


and more than others were to abstain from being bland in speech, "lest he indulge desire in whose heart is disease"; and, finally, the jealousy of Mahomet was allayed by the injunction that they should never marry again, even after his death.


The obligation devolving on believers to consort equally with their several wives was also relaxed specially in the Prophet's favour.

Towards the close of the same year the Coreish, with an army of 4,000 men, again attacked Medina. Mahomet, resolved not a second, time to hazard an engagement without the town, intrenched his position by a deep ditch, behind which he opposed the enemy. For fifteen days the siege was pressed, to the great alarm and peril of the city, when the host, wearied and pressed by stress of weather, suddenly decamped. Mahomet had hardly begun to lay aside


his armour when he was visited by the angel Gabriel, with the command, "Arise, and go forth against the Bani Coreitza. Behold, I go before thee to shake their walls." This was the only Jewish tribe now left in the neighbourhood. Charged with having listened to the overtures of the Coreish, they were besieged by the Moslem army. After fourteen days, reduced to extremity, they surrendered at discretion. The men, to the number of 600 to 800, were deliberately beheaded in parties, one after another, and the women (one of whom the Prophet reserved for himself) and the children were sold into slavery. These events are treated of in the XXXIII. Sura, where the alarm of the citizens, the cowardice of the "hypocrites," the signal deliverance wrought by the Lord, and the destruction of the Jews, are graphically described.

In the sixth year of the Hegira Mahomet conceived the project of peacefully visiting Mecca,

A.H. 6.

to perform the rites of pilgrimage. Few of his Bedouin allies responded to the invitation. Nevertheless, the cavalcade, arrayed in pilgrim garb, numbered 1,500 followers. But the Coreish, suspicious of the design, opposed their entrance; so they encamped outside the sacred limits, at Hodeibia, where, after protracted negotiations, a truce was signed. Hostilities were suspended for ten years; all tribes were declared free to enter into treaty with Mahomet; and liberty was accorded to converts from Mecca to join him at their pleasure. The pilgrims were at once to return without entering Mecca, but permission was promised for the performance of the pilgrimage in the coming year. During the negotiations