Othmân had been sent as an envoy to the Coreish, and, his return having been delayed, a rumour spread of foul play. The pilgrims crowded round the Prophet, as he stood under an acacia-tree, and enthusiastically pledged themselves to stand by his absent son-in-law. The stirring scene, known as "the pledge of the tree," is thus noticed in the XLVIII. Sura: "Verily, God was well pleased with the believers when they pledged themselves under the tree." In the same Sura the truce is termed "an evident victory"; and in effect it was a real triumph for Mahomet, because it recognized him as an equal and independent power. But his followers were disappointed; and he allayed their chagrin by the promise of early conquest and abundant spoil elsewhere, a prospect from which, as the severest punishment for their lukewarmness, the backward Bedouins were excluded. In another Sura, revealed about the same time, the Moslems are warned against familiarity and friendship with the unbelievers,

Sura LX.

and rules are laid down for the treatment of such female converts as came over from Mecca; the marriage bond between believers and their unbelieving wives who remained at Mecca was annulled; and the dower of the one was allowed to be set off against the dower of the other.

Before many months the promise of victory


and spoil was amply redeemed by the campaign against the Jews of Kheibar, a territory several days' journey north of Mecca; where a rich booty and ample domains were secured by Mahomet for himself and his followers. The seventh year of the Hegira passed otherwise uneventfully, and


at its close the postponed pilgrimage was peacefully performed according to the treaty.

In the eighth year another scene took place in the Prophet's harem,

A.H. 8

which gave occasion to some strange passages similar to those revealed in the affair of Zeinab. In the previous year Mahomet had sent despatches summoning the kings of the earth to the true faith. To none of these did he receive satisfactory response, excepting from Muckouckas, Governor of Egypt, who, among other gifts, forwarded two slave girls. Being sisters, only one (according to the Moslem law) was lawful to him, and he selected Mary. In the following year she presented him with a son, who died in infancy. The fondness of Mahomet for the Coptic maid was resented by his numerous wives, one of whom surprised him in her own room alone with Mary; and he promised to forego her society if the affair were kept quiet. But the scandal could not be concealed, and Mahomet soon found his harem cold and estranged. He withdrew from their society, and for a month lived with Mary alone. A revelation appeared upon this occasion, chiding him because he had "forbidden himself that which God had made lawful to him, out of desire to. please his wives"; allowing him to abrogate his promise; and threatening his wives with the displeasure of God and man. "Haply his Lord, if he divorce you, will give him in your stead better wives than ye are —submissive unto God, believers, pious, repentant, devout, fasting—both women married previously and virgins." Whether Mahomet intended such passages to be perpetuated in the Corân we have