Then followed a period, called the Fatra, during which no revelations came.1 It is said to have lasted three years. During this time the mind of the Prophet was in much suspense and he even doubted his call to a divine mission. The Quraish, a leading tribe in Mecca, to which the Prophet himself belonged, did not all this while actively oppose Muhammad; they looked upon him as a madman, and in the East madness is often supposed to be accompanied with a sort of inspiration. In religious matters, the Meccans were not narrow-minded, nor was their religion exclusive. They tolerated the various creeds then accepted in Arabia and opened the Ka'ba to men of all sects. Waraqa, the cousin of Muhammad, one of the Hanifs, embraced Christianity, but no one blamed him or interfered with him on that account. So at first they treated Muhammad with good-humoured contempt. The opposition against him was aroused when he set up his own teaching as the exclusive way of life and explicitly and implicitly condemned all other religions. So long as he kept to general statements, such as exhortations to lead good lives, or allusions to the Last Day, the people of Mecca cared little; but, when he began to attack the idolatry of the Ka'ba, the case was quite altered and active opposition commenced. The chief cause of this was the intense dislike they had to the changing of what had been long established. They had great reverence for the religion which made Mecca a sacred centre for the Arab people. As yet they

1 For the manner in which inspiration is supposed to have come, see The Faith of Islam (4th ed.), pp. 71-2.

had no idea that Muhammad would, by adopting into Islam much of the old pagan ceremonial of the Ka'ba, conserve that feeling. Then he worked no miracles. They had only his own word in support of his claim.

It would not be difficult to show that he was, from the first, influenced by patriotic motives and that he had a politico-religious system in view. Ibn Ishaq tells us that, as Muhammad owed the amount of toleration he enjoyed solely to the support of his relatives, the elders of the Quraish begged his uncle Abu Talib to arrange some way of peace by mutual concessions. Abu Talib thereupon asked him to make some concession and stated that the Quraish would also do the same. To this Muhammad replied: 'Well then, give me a word whereby the Arabs may be governed and the Persians subjugated;'1 and added, 'Say there is no God except Allah and renounce what you worship beside Him.' In other words, accept my teaching and Arabia shall be united and her enemies subdued. The Meccans realized the danger and replied: 'We are not sure whether the dominion will not be taken from us.' The political factor in the inception of Islam has been far too much overlooked.2 The result of the battle of Muta (A.H. 8), for example, was disastrous from a military point of view; but it exalted Muhammad as the champion of a national idea and so produced

1 Quoted by Koelle, Mohammed and Mohammedanism, p. 74.
2 Nowhere in the life of Muhammad can a period of turning be shown; there is a gradual changing of aims and a readjustment of the means of obtaining them. Hurgronje, Mohammedanism, pp. 37-8.