230 The CORÂN

of a third tribe, the Bani Coreitza (from 600 to 800 in number), made their women and children captives.

Before their mouths were thus stopped by the sword, the Jews attempted to combat Mahomet in argument, and they brought forward passages of Scripture in support of their position. But Mahomet did not admit that his opponents were sincere and honest in argument. He accused them of perverting the sense of their Scriptures and of not properly understanding their purport. He compared them to an ass laden with a burden of precious books;—charged with a store of divine knowledge, but not a whit the wiser for it.—Art. XCIII. Stupid and blinded by ignorance and prejudice, they could not recognize the truth revealed in their Scripture. The imputation does not materially differ from that which has for eighteen centuries been made by Christians against the Jews. Both believe equally in the Old Testament, but they differ widely as to its interpretation.

Mahomet charged the Jews of Medîna with bringing separate passages from their Scriptures, presenting them without their context or in connection with a wrong context, and with thus distorting the true sense.—Arts. LXIX, XCVI., CXXII., and CXXIII. They are alleged to have applied to Mahomet expressions having a double and offensive meaning.—Art. CXI. They produced as having divine authority passages of human origin,—probably their rabbinical or traditional writings.—Arts. LXXII. and CXI. They are accused of concealing texts or prophecies favourable to Mahomet and his claims, or rather of not unfolding them, "though God had made them


enter into a covenant that they should publish them to mankind."

Further than this we do not find that Mahomet accused even his enemies the Jews of Medîna. The inference that by "concealing" is intended the excision or erasure of passages from their manuscripts, is altogether groundless.

As to altering or corrupting their copies of the sacred Scriptures, there is not a single verse which, fairly construed, bears out the charge. Even if any passage could be so forced, the whole tenor of the Corân and its plain testimony from first to last in favour of the genuineness and authority of the Jewish as well as of the Christian Scriptures, would prove that such meaning was not that which Mahomet intended.

Would the Prophet have appealed to a corrupted Tourât? Would he have constantly attested the truth of an interpolated Law? Would he have commanded that disputes amongst the Jews should be adjusted by an obsolete and adulterated Revelation; or have summoned them to produce the roll of a doubtful Scripture, and to read therefrom in order that a difference between themselves and him should thus be finally adjudicated? Would he have solemnly inculcated the observance of a falsified Text; or have said of any other than a genuine Book, that the faith of the Jews was futile unless they "set up" that book and observed its precepts ?

It is further to be well observed that the imputations contained in the Corân (whatever their nature) are from first to last confined to the Jews. There is not a