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Accueil > RESSOURCES > Muhammad > Mohammed and the rise of Islam (D. S. MARGOLIOUTH)

Mohammed and the rise of Islam (D. S. MARGOLIOUTH)

MARGOLIOUTH (David Samuel), Mohammed and the rise of Islam, New York, Putnam, ("Heroes of the nations"), 1905, 3ème éd., XXVI+481 p. Index.

L’auteur

David Samuel Margoliouth a été professeur d’arabe à l’Université d’Oxford (1889-1937) et a été brièvement actif en tant que ministre de l’Église d’Angleterre. Il a passé beaucoup de temps à voyager dans le Moyen-Orient.

Préface (sans les notes)

The biographers of the Prophet Mohammed
form a long series which it is impossible to
end, but in which it would be honourable
to find a place. The most famous of them is prob-
ably Sir Walter Raleigh, f while the palm for elo-
quence and historical insight may well be awarded
to Gibbon.

During the time when Gibbon wrote, and for long
after, historians mainly relied for their knowledge of
the life of Mohammed on the Biography of Abu’l-
Fida, who died in the year 722 a.m., 1322 a.d., of
whose work Gagnier produced an indifferent edition.
The scholars of the nineteenth century were natur-
ally not satisfied with so late an authority ; and they
succeeded in bringing to light all the earliest docu-
ments preserved by the Mohammedans. The merit
of discovering and utilising these ancient works is
shared by G. Weil, Caussin de Perceval, F. Wusten-
feld, A. Sprenger, and Sir William Muir ; and the
Lives of Mohammed by the last two of these writers
are likely to be regarded as classical so long as there
are students of Oriental history in Europe ; notwith-
standing the fact that Muir*s Life is written with a
confessedly Christian bias, and that Sprenger’s is de-
faced by some slipshod scholarship and untrust-
worthy archaeology.

Since these works were composed, knowledge of
Mohammed and his time has been increased by the
publication of many Arabic texts, and the labours of
European scholars on Mohammedan antiquities, j :
The works of L Goldziher, J. Wellhausen, and Th.
Ndldeke have elucidated much that was obscure, and
facilitated the understanding of Arabian history both
before and after the Prophet. And from the follow-
ing Arabic works, most of which have been published
since Sprenger and Muir wrote, many fresh details
of interest and even of importance occasionally have
been furnished.

I. The Musnad^ox collection of traditions of Ahmad
Ibn Hanbal, who died in 241 A.H., (855 A.D. : Cairo, 1890, in six volumes, fol.). In this work the sayings
of the Prophet recorded by different individuals are
given in separate collections for each individual. The
same tradition is sometimes given ten, twenty, or
even a hundred times. Much of the matter is
scarcely to be found elsewhere, and is likely to be
genuine. The account of this work given by Gold-
ziher, Z. D. M. G.y 1. 463-599, is of course excellent.

2. The gigantic Commentary on the Koran by the
historian Tabari, who died 310 A.H., (922 A.D. : Cairo,
1902- 1904, in thirty volumes, fol.). This commentary
is for the historian of far greater value than the pop-
ular commentaries of Zamakhshari and Baidawi, who
lived many centuries later, and were influenced by
later controversies.

3. The Isabahy or Dictionary of Persons who knew
Mohammed, by Ibn Hajar (Calcutta, 1853-1894,
four volumes). In spite of the late date of the author
of this great dictionary, his work is historically valu-
able, owing to the fact that it embodies matter taken
from sources which are no longer accessible. Ibn
Hajar was possessed of an extraordinary library.

4. The works of early Arabic writers, especially
the polygraph *Amr, son of Bahr, called Al-Jahiz,
who died in 255 A.H. (868 A.D.). Of his works there
are now accessible three edited by the late Van
Vloten, and the treatise on rhetoric published in
Cairo. Though not dealing directly with Moham-
med, they contain many an allusion which it is pos.
sible to utilise.

The present writer has gone through, in addition
to these (so far as they were accessible to him).
the authorities utilised already by his predecessors,
of which the chief are enumerated in the Biblio-
graphy. One of these, the Class Book of Ibn Sdd
pb. 230 A.H., 845 A.D.) is in course of publication.

Since the authors of books in this series have the
number of their pages limited, it has been found
necessary to abbreviate, and this has been done by
omitting three kinds of matter :

1. Translations of the Koran (except in the rarest
cases).

2. All anecdotes that are obviously or most prob-
ably fabulous.

3. Such incidents as are of little consequence
either in themselves or for the development of the
narrative.

Some principles for estimating the credibility of
traditions are given by Muir in his Introduction, and
by Goldziher in his Muhamtnadanische Studien, A
few important observations bearing on this subject
are also made by Noldeke, Z. D. M. G,^ lii., 16, foil.
The number of motives leading to the fabrication of
traditions was so great that the historian is in con-
stant danger of employing as veracious records what
were deliberate fictions. I can only hope that I
have not displayed greater credulity than my pre-
decessors. In condemning traditions as unhistorical
I have ordinarily considered the obelus of Goldziher,
N6ldeke, or Wellhausen as sufficient.

The standpoint from which this book is written
is suggested by the title of the series. I regard
Mohammed as a great man, who solved a political
problem of appalling difficulty, — the construction of

a state and an empire out of the Arab tribes. I have
endeavoured, in recounting the mode in which he
accomplished this, to do justice to his intellectual
ability and to observe towards him the respectful
attitude which his greatness deserves ; but otherwise
this book does not aim at being either an apology or
an indictment. Indeed neither sort of work is now
required. The charming and eloquent treatise of
Syed Ameer Ali * is probably the best achievement
in the way of an apology for Mohammed that is
ever likely to be composed in a European language,
whereas indictments are very numerous — some dig-
nified and moderate, as is the work of Sir William
Muir ; others fanatical and virulent.f These works
are ordinarily designed to show the superiority or in-
feriority of Mohammed’s religion to some other sys-
tem ; an endeavour from which it is hoped that this
book will be found to be absolutely free.

There are two forms of literature to which I should
especially wish to acknowledge obligations. One of
these consists of works in which we have authentic
biographies of persons who have convinced many of
their fellows that they were in receipt of divine
communications ; in particular I may mention the
history of modern Spiritualism, by F. Podmore,J
and the study on the founder of Mormonism, by I.
W. Riley. § For the employment of " revelations "
as a political instrument, and for the difficulties
which attend the career of Prophet-statesman,
the life of Joseph Smith (the founder of Mor-
monism) furnishes illustrations of the most in-
structive character ; only the biographer of
Mohammed must envy the wealth and authenticity
of the material at Dr. Riley*s disposal, without
which the formulae of modern psychology could not
have been applied to the interpretation of Smith’s
career so successfully as Dr. Riley has applied
them.

A second class of works are those in which savage
life is described at first hand : and among these the
Autobiography of James P. Beckwourth deserves
special notice. There are chapters in that work
where by substituting camel for horse we might find
a reproduction of Bedouin manners and institutions ;
and the question of Beckwourth*s veracity does not
affect the general truth of his descriptions.

Finally, I have to thank various persons from
whom I have derived assistance. I am indebted for
many suggestions and improvements to the Editor
of the Series, to J. P. Margoliouth, and to the Rev.
W. J. Foxell, who have read and re-read the proofs ;
to Mr. A. E. Cowley, Fellow of Magdalen College,
for advice in the selection of coins ; to Dr. J. Ritchie,
Fellow of New College, and Mr. R. B. Townshend
for guidance with regard to medical and anthropo-
logical works ; and to Mr. G. Zaidan, editor of the
Cairene journal Hilal^ for leave to reproduce certain
plates that have appeared in his magazine, and also
for the names of certain Arabic works with which I
was not previously acquainted. Mr. Zaidan is well
known in Arabic-speaking countries as a historian,
novelist, and journalist ; and I hope that ere long I
may have the pleasure of introducing some of his
works to Engli^ readers.

Table des matières

Préface

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

TRANSLITERATION

CHRONOLOGY

GEOGRAPHY

CHAPTER I THE BIRTHPLACE OF THE HERO

CHAPTER II EARLY LIFE OF MOHAHMED

CHAPTER III ISLAM AS A SECRET SOCIETY

CHAPTER IV PUBLICITY

CHAPTER V HISTORY OF THE MECCAN PERIOD

CHAPTER VI THE MIGRATION

CHAPTER VII THE BATTLE OF BADR

CHAPTER VIII PROGRESS AND A SETBACK

CHAPTER IX THE DESTRUCTION OF THE JEWS

CHAPTER X STEPS TOWARDS THE TAKING OF MECCAH

CHAPTER XI THE TAKING OF MECCAH

CHAPTER XII SETTLEMENT OF ARABIA

CHAPTER XIII THE LAST YEAR

INDEX

Voir en ligne : lire l’ouvrage dans son intégralité (3ème éd. 1905)

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