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The Mohammedan controversy (William MUIR)

MUIR (William), The Mohammedan controversy ; Biographies of Mohammed ; Sprenger on tradition ; The Indian liturgy ; and, The Psalter..., Edinburgh, T. & T. Clark, 1897, X+220 p.

Eléments biographiques

Sir William Muir était un orientaliste écossais spécialisé dans l’histoire des débuts de l’Islam et du califat. Il étudia à l’Académie Kilmarnock, à Glasgow et à l’Université d’Edimbourg ainsi qu’à Haileybury College. Entre 1837 et 1885, il eut de haute responsabilité dans l’administration du gouvernement des Indes. En 1885, il fut élu principal de l’Université d’Édimbourg en succédant à Sir Alexander Grant, et occupa ce poste jusqu’en 1903, date où il prit sa retraite.

Preface

These Essays are taken from the Calcutta Review, in which they
appeared many years ago. 1 They are now republished as con
taining matter which, it is hoped, may still, in various quarters,
have some special interest.

FIRST ESSAY, 1845 A.D. The Mohammedan Controversy. The
immediate object of this paper was a review I was called on to
make of Dr. Pfander s famous Apologies for the Christian faith.
As leading up to the subject, the Essay opens with an account,
chiefly from Dr. Lee s great work, of the controversy in previous
times, and of Henry Martyn s discussions with the Moollas of
Persia. The three chief writings of Pfander the Mizdn-ul-Haqq,
Miftdh-ul-Asrdr, and Tariq-ul-Hyat are then described. The
debates which these give rise to between their Author and
his Moslem opponents follow, notably that with the Mujtahid,
or royal Apologist of the King of Oudh. In the latter part of the
Second Essay the subject is resumed, and an account given of the
continued controversy with the champions of the North-West
Provinces and Lucknow brought up to date (1852).

SECOND ESSAY, 1852 A.D. Biographies of Mohammed. The
Essay opens with a warning against the danger of publishing in
correct biographies of the Prophet. Certain treatises, founded on
imperfect sources (as Washington Irving s Life of Mohammed),
and circulated by the London and Bombay Tract Societies, are shown to be of this type. Several passages are quoted full of
such gross misstatements as could not fail to damage our authority,
and bring discredit on the Christian apologist. A description
follows of Native biographies abounding in the East, whose
authors, in entire neglect of early tradition, build their story on
the fanciful fictions of later days. An illustration is given at
length of a remarkable biography, The Ennobled Nativity, which
tells us how the LIGHT of Mohammed, created a thousand years
before the world, passed from father to son, down to the
Prophet s birth. The whole forms a kind of celestial romance,
the playful fantasy of an uncontrolled imagination.

THIRD ESSAY, 1868 A.D. Sprenger on the Sources and Growth of
Moslem Tradition. This is Dr. Sprenger s monograph on Moham
medan tradition, being a preface of 180 pages to his great work,
Das Leben und die Lehre des Mohammad, and by far, as I think,
its most valuable part. It has never been given to the public in
English, and the present resume may therefore with the greater
confidence be commended to the notice of those interested in the
life of Mohammed ; for it is only by a thorough acquaintance with
the rise and growth of tradition that we can, with any approach
to certainty, distinguish between fact and fiction. For this end,
the special value of each of the great sources of tradition the
Sunna, Genealogies, Biographies, and Commentaries, in addition
to the Coran itself has to be carefully weighed ; and this the
researches of Sprenger have enabled us to do. The almost incredible mass of matter which has survived must
be traced chiefly to the SUNNA, or " practice " of the Prophet ; for
his life and example, as law to his followers, has been sought out
and recorded in every possible shape and detail. Another cause
of the prodigious growth of tradition is, that the most distant
connection with the Prophet a word or a glance conferred honour
on him who could claim it ; and so a vast body of all kinds of
tales was ready to the eager collector s hand. Hence the necessity,
in forming an estimate of Mohammed s life and the early rise of
Islam, of such a study as will enable us to test the evidence on
which such traditions stand ; and here Sprenger is our guide.
For I need hardly say that no authority comes near to that of
one whose researches in this branch of Moslem history are un
exampled in their range and familiarity with the subject.

FOURTH ESSAY, 1850 A.D. The Indian Liturgy. Our Prayer-
Book is altogether inadequate to meet the needs of the Indian
Church. Among other things for which there is no provision,
two stand out pre-eminently. Prayers for the early and the
latter Rain are nowhere to be found ; and yet on these in India
hang life and death, fruitful seasons or fatal dearth. Then there
are the surrounding masses of Heathen and Mohammedans, and
the dangers to our converts resulting from their influence and
example ; the necessity also of unceasing supplication for the
ingathering of all around them. Hence the importance, as urged
iu. this Essay, of such an enlargement of the Indian Liturgy as will
meet these and other objects of time and place. The reasonable
ness is also urged of permission to use unfixed forms, as borne out
by the example of the early Church. The authority of Bingham,
Palmer, and others, as to the practice of the apostolical age and
the gradual introduction of liturgical services, is referred to as a
lesson to ourselves. This historical outline (though, I fear, carried
to an unnecessary length) will, it is hoped, be found of interest,
and to abound with lessons bearing on the reasonableness of
the adoption of such a service as may best suit the wants of
churches planted in the midst of heathen nations.

FIFTH ESSAY, 1887 A.D. The freer and more varied use of the
Psalms in our churches. Looking to the Eastern and Roman
Churches, we find that the serial repetition of the Psalter is
modified by the use in its stead of the Proper Psalms appointed
for the Ferial and Saints days constantly recurring in their
services. Such being not the case in our own Church (six holy
days excepted), the daily and monthly repetition of the Psalms in
the same serial form is with us never changed from one year s end
to another. This want of freedom has long been felt in America to be a
serious disadvantage. And, to remedy it, two measures have for
many years been there observed. First, by substituting a table of
Proper Psalms for sixteen holy days. And secondly, another
table containing ten series of selected Psalms was long ago intro
duced into the Prayer-Book, " to be read, instead of the Psalrns
for the day, at the discretion of the Minister." The American
services are thus enriched in no ordinary degree, and made suit
able to time and occasion. A further object has been to escape
the imperative use of the minatory passages in the Psalms, a sub
ject which has long exercised the American mind. The alter
native table entirely avoids these ; so that it is in the power of
the Minister, when they occur in the Psalms for the day, to
read out of the other table instead.

Following the example of their American sister, the Con
ventions of Canterbury and York, some twenty years ago,
approached Her Majesty with a table of Proper Psalms. It is
earnestly to be hoped that the endeavour thus already made will
not be lost sight of, but be prosecuted till it meet with the desired
success.

W. M. 

Edinburgh, 1897.

Table des matières

Preface

FIRST ARTICLE

THE MOHAMMEDAN CONTROVERSY ..... 1

HENRY MARTYN . . . . . . .10

PFANDER, HIS WORKS AND CONTROVERSY . . . .20

FORSTER’S "MOHAMMEDANISM UNVEILED" . . . .42

THE SHIEA APOLOGIST OF LUCKNOW .... 52

SECOND ARTICLE

BIOGRAPHIES OF MOHAMMED ENGLISH . . . .65

,, ,, ,, NATIVE . . . .76

PFANDER S CONTROVERSY WITH HIS OPPONENTS . .89

THIRD ARTICLE

SPRENGER ON ORIGINAL SOURCES OF TRADITION . . .104

THE "SUNNA" ....... 106

BIOGRAPHIES . . . . . . . .124

COMMENTARIES ON THE CORAN . . . . .128

GENEALOGIES ........ 134

POETS ......... 145

FOURTH ARTICLE

THE INDIAN LITURGY ...... 153

EARLY LITURGIES ....... 170

SCHEDULE OF ANCIENT AND MODERN LITURGIES . . . 180

URDOO LITURGY . . .192

FIFTH ARTICLE

THE PSALTER ........ 199

ITS LARGER AND MOKE DISCRETIONARY USE . . . 207

MINATORY PSALMS . . . . . . .210

APPENDIX AMERICAN TABLES OF PROPER PSALMS AND SELECTIONS
OF PSALMS 215

Voir en ligne : lire l’ouvrage dans son intégralité (éd. 1897)

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