THE MOHAMMEDAN ASCENDENCY.
CHAPTER LXXVII- CAREER OF THE PROPHET.
Mohammed, the son of
Abdallah, of the tribe of
Hashem, was born in
Mecca on the eastern
shore of the Red Sea, in
the year 569. His infancy was obscure and
unfortunate. The family were poor Arabs,
and the child was afflicted with epileptic
spasms. His uncles and aunts, of the Hashem
tribe, declared him to be possessed of the Djin, or Demons. So that from his childhood
he was looked upon with a certain measure of
superstitious dread; but the boy proved to be
amiable, and the prejudice of his kinsfolk
against him was gradually relaxed.
The father, Abdallah, died when Mohammed was but two months old, and the child
was given to a Bedouin nurse, who reared the
little epileptic on a regimen of goat's milk and
rice. By and by he was returned to his
mother, but the latter, unwilling to endure
his convulsions, gave him to his grandfather,
a tough old personage, named Abd el Mottallib. When he was six years old his mother
died, and presently the tenacious grandfather also ceased, after which the young Prophet
was put under the care of an uncle named
Abu Taleb, who disliked his ward and abhorred the Djin by whom he was possessed.
At the age of nine the boy Mohammed
was mounted on a camel and dispatched on a
merchandising expedition into Syria. While
abroad he saw the sacred places of the Jews.
He stood on the spot where the King of
Salem came out and did obeisance to Abraham. He was shown the place where his
great mother, the bondwoman Hagar, went
forth leading Ishmael by the hand. He saw
Damascus, city of the desert, and Sinai, the
mountain of the Ijaw. Then he returned to
Mecca full of visions and dreams.
When twelve years old Mohammed left
Abu Taleb and lived with another uncle
named Zubeir. He was also a merchant, but
did not, like Abu Taleb, trade in the direction
of Palestine and Egypt. Zubeir led his caravan into Southern Arabia, and him Mohammed, now reaching his sixteenth year, accompanied on a second expedition of trade and
travel. He continued in his service till he
was twenty years of age. Then, becoming