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religions. The inhabitants of hell will suffer a variety of torments, which shall be of eternal duration, except with those who have embraced the true religion, who will be delivered thence after they have expiated their crimes by their sufferings.” The righteous, after having surmounted the difficulties in their passage, will enter paradise, which they describe to be a most delicious place, whose earth is the finest wheat, or musk, and the stones pearls, or jacinths. It is also adorned with flowery fields, beautified with trees of gold, enlivened with the most ravishing music, inhabited by exquisite beauties, abounding with rivers of milk, wine, and honey, and watered by lesser springs, whose pebbles are rubies, emeralds, &c. Here the faithful enjoy the most exquisite sensual delights, free from the least alloy,t in a state of eternal beatitude, where the degree of felicity is proportioned to the sincerity
of their faith, and the nature and number of their good works.[ The sixth great point of faith which the mohammedans are taught to believe, is God's absolute decrees, and pre-determination both of good and evil. The doctrine which they call orthodox is, that whatever doth or shall come to pass in the world, whether it be good or bad, proceedeth entirely from the divine will, and is irrevocably fixed and recorded from all eternity in the preserved table; and that God hath secretly pre-determined not only the adverse and prosperous fortune of every person in the world in the most minute particulars, but also his obedience or disobedience, and consequently his everlasting happiness or misery after death; which fate, or predestination, it is impossible by any foresight or wisdom to avoid. It is however certain that the doctors of the mahometan law assert, that whoever denies free-will, and attributes human actions to the sole influence of the Deity, sins against religion; and if he persist in his error, he becomes an infidel, and deserving of death. They assert that in every circumstance of life, and in every public and private undertaking, the divine illumination ought first to be implored, through the intercession of the prophet, and all the saints. After this, every one should reflect, deliberate, and consult his own mind, by using that aid which prudence, experience, and reason, may suggest. It is only after these means have been employed, that human events may be attributed to the decrees of heaven, to which mankind ought ever to submit with the most unlimited resignation. Notwithstanding this explanation, almost the whole
* Between paradise and hell they imagine there is a wall, or partition, in which, some suppose, those were placed whose good and evil works exactly counterpoised each other. These will be admitted to paradise at the last day, after they have performed an act of adoration, which will make the scale of their good works to overbalance.
. The mahometan doctors maintain that believers will not remain for ever in hell, though they should transgress the law and die impenitent, because the least good work will be recompensed to eternity; and faith is the first of
all meritorious deeds.
t Some of the most refined mahometans understand the prophet's
# D'Obosson, vol. i. p. 109.
nation believes the principle of immutable destiny," and admits the exercise and effects of free-will with extreme reluctance, h Of the four practical duties required by the korán, prayer is the first. Mahomet used to call prayer the pillar of religion, and the key of paradise. Hence he obliged his followers to pray five times every twenty-four hours, and always wash before prayers.; Circumcision is held by the mohammedans to be of divine institution. The giving of alms is frequently commanded in the korán, and often recommended therein jointly with prayer; the former being held of great efficacy in causing the latter to prevail with God." Fasting is a duty enjoined by Mohammed as of the utmost importance. His followers are obliged by the express command of the korán to fast the whole month of Ramadan, during which time they are obliged to fast from day-light to sun-set. The reason the month of Ramadan is pitched upon for that purpose is, because they suppose that at that time the korán was sent down from heaven. The pilgrimage to Mecca is so necessary a point of practice, that, according to a tradition of Mohammed, he who dies without performing it, may as well die a jew or a christian ; and the same is expressly commanded in the korán.” The negative precepts of the korán are, to abstain from usury, gaming, drinking of wine, eating of blood, and swine's flesh. The mohammedans are divided and sub-divided into an endless variety of sects. As it is said, there is as great a diversity in their opinions as among the christians, it is impossible to give a particular account of their divisions in the compass of this work,
* Of this doctrine Mohammed made great use for the advancement of his designs; encouraging his followers to fight without fear, and even desperately, for the propagation of their faith, by representing to them that all their caution would not avert their inevitable destiny, or prolong their lives for a moment : for not only the time, but the manner and circumstances of their death, have been unalterably fixed from all eternity. Hence the rigid innssulman deems every attempt to change the common order of things a crime not far removed from rebellion against the established laws of God. Therefore he views the pestilence, which is common in those parts, ravaging his country, and destroying thousands and ten thousands in the streets, without overting one effort to check its baneful progress, See White's Sermous, p. 34.
t D'Ohosson's History of the Ottoman Empire.
: Mailomet consecrated Friday as a sacred day, on which public prayers are ordered to be performed, in token of hoinage and gratitude to the Almighty, for having created man on that day, and to distinguish his worship from that of the jews and christians. See D'Ohosson's History of the
which will admit only of
noticing a few of their principal denominations. The divinity of the mohammedans may be divided into scholastic and practical. Their
scholastic divinity consists of logical, metaphysical, theological, and philosophical disquisitions; and is built on principles and methods of reasoning very different from what are used by those who pass among the mohammedans themselves for the sounder divines or more able philosophers. This art of handling religious disputes was not known in the infancy of mohammedism, but was brought in when Scots sprang up, and articles of religion began to be called in question. As to their practical divinity, or jurisprudence, it consists in the knowledge of the decisions of the law which regard practice gathered from distinct proofs. The principal points of faith subject to the examination and discussion of the schoolmen, are the unity and attributes of God, the divine decrees, or predestination, the promises and threats contained in the law, and matters of history and reason. The sects among the mohammedans who are esteemed orthodox, are called by the general name of Sonnites, or Traditionists; because they acknowledge the authority of the Sonna, or collection of moral traditious of the sayings and actions of their prophet.
* Sale's Koran.
The Sonnites are sub-divided into four chief sects, viz. – (1.) The Hanisites.—(2.) The Malekites.—(3.) The Shafeits. —(4.) The Hanbalites. The difference between these sects consists only in a few indifferent ceremonies. The sects whom the generality of the mohammedans suppose. eutertain erroneous opinions are numerous. The following are selected from a large number, in order to give some ideas of the disputes among mohammedan divines." 1. The Montazalites, the followers of Wasel Ebn Ata. As to their chief and general tenets:—(1.) They entirely rejected all eternal attributes of God, to avoid the distinction of persons made by the christians.—(2.) They believed the word of God to have been created in subjecto, as the schoolmen term it, and to consist of letters and sounds; copies thereof being written in books, to express and imitate the original. affirmed that whatever is created in subjecto is also an accident, and liable to perish.(3.) They denied absolute predestination; maintaining that God was not the author of evil, but of good only ; and that man was a free agent.— (4.) They held, that if a pro
fessor of the true religion be guilty of a grievous sin, and die without repentance, he will be eternally damned, though his punishment will be lighter than that of the infidels.-(5.) They denied all visions of God in paradise by the corporeal eye, and rejected all comparisons, or similitudes, applied to God. This sect are said to have been the first inventors of scholastic divinity; and are sub-divided, as some reckon, into twenty different sects. 2. The Hashbemians, who were so named from their master, Aba Hasham Abel al Salem. His followers were so much afraid of making God the author of evil, that they would not allow him to be said to create an infidel; because an infidel is a compound of infidelity and man, and God is not the creator of Infidelity. 3. The Nohámians, or followers of Ibrahim al Nedhám, who, imagining he could not sufficiently remove God from being the author of evil without divesting him of his power in respect thereto, taught that no power ought to be ascribed to God concerning evil and rebellious actions; but this he affirmed against the opinion of his own disciples, who allowed
* Sale's Koran, pp. 142–152.
attributed to God, but to man,
who is a free agent, and may therefore be rewarded or punished for his actions, which God has granted him power either to do or omit.
6. The Jabarians, who are the direct opponents of the Kadarians, denying free agency in man, and ascribing his actions wholly to God. The most rigid of this sect will not allow man to be said either to act or have any power at all, either operative or acquiring ; asserting that man can do nothing, but that all his actions are produced by necessity; having neither power nor will, nor choice, any more