Page 1095

1095

BOOK TWELFTH

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