be any uncertainty about their meaning. In addition to these we shall adduce certain statements made by leading Muslim biographers of Muhammad and historians, together with commonly accepted Traditions, in order that it may be clear how he acted after he had gained power through his alliance with the tribes of Aus and Khazraj at Medinah and their conversion to Islam. We must entreat our readers to remember that we are not expressing our own opinions, but merely quoting what Muslim authorities state on these points.

The matters which we have selected for investigation are: (1) Muhammad's matrimonial affairs, and (2) his way of dealing with his enemies. The learned reader will notice that we might easily have selected extracts from Muslim writers which deal much more fully with each point than those do to whom we appeal. But we wished to choose reliable authorities, and to avoid all who to any extent seem to have employed exaggeration in their statements or to have indulged their imagination. Such writers as those of the latter class, unaware how their statements would be regarded by impartial readers, have perhaps said things about Muhammad which represent his character in too unfavourable a light. We have therefore avoided them, and confined ourselves mostly to earlier and more reliable accounts given by Arabic authors. Occasional reference, however, is made to Persian and Turkish works, that it may be evident that the whole Muhammadan world is agreed regarding the facts which we are considering.

I. With regard to matrimonial affairs: in Surah iv. 3 the rule is laid down that each Muslim may have one or two or three or four wives at a time, "or what your right hands possess." Al Baizawi explains the latter phrase as meaning concubines or slave-girls (سراري). This verse sanctions polygamy and servile concubinage among Muslims for all time, rendering permanent the many evils thereby caused, of which Muslim lands are


full. But Muhammad was not limited in his polygamy 1 by even such wide limits as those fixed in this passage, for in Surah xxxiii. 49, 5o, a special privilege is given to Muhammad in these words: "O Prophet, verily We have made lawful to thee thy wives, whose morning-gifts thou hast brought, and what thy right hand possesses of that which God hath bestowed upon thee, and the daughters of thy paternal uncle, and the daughters of thy paternal aunts, and the daughters of thy maternal uncle and the daughters of thy maternal aunts who have emigrated with thee, and [any] believing woman, if she give herself to the Prophet, if the Prophet desire to ask her in marriage,—a privilege to thee beyond [the rest of ] the Believers (We know what We have enjoined 2 upon them concerning their wives and what their right hand possess); lest there should be a crime upon thee." In his commentary upon this passage, Al Baizawi says 3: "'A privilege,' &c.—A notification that it is part of what is granted specially to him in honour of his being a prophet, and an acknowledgement that He deems him worthy of generosity on his account." Among other explanations of the word rendered "a privilege", Baizawi gives "true friendship" and "a special gift". That we may understand to what extent Muhammad availed himself of this "special privilege", it should be observed that, at the time of his death, he had nine wives still living, besides at least two concubines, Mary and Rihanah. Ibn Hisham informs us that in all Muhammad married thirteen wives. 'Ayishah was six or seven years of age when the wedding ceremony was performed, and cohabitation began when she was still playing with her dolls at the age of nine or ten years.4

With regard to Mary the Copt, sent to Muhammad

1 Very full details of his conduct as a husband are given in the Rauzatu'l Ahbab.
2 i.e. in S Surah iv. 3.
3 Vol. ii, p. 132.
4 Ibn Hishim, vol. iii, p. 94; Ibn Athir, vol. ii, pp. 117, 118; Mishkat, pp. 262, 272.