1098 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD.
by day and night. He stood up in the very
face of the Koreish, the Arabian Levites, who
had charge of the Kaaba, and denounced
their traditions and practices. The Koreish
took fright and celled upon Abu Taleb to
suppress his nephew as an enemy of religion; but Abu could not do it. The alternative was thus placed before the priests of themselves being converted or taking up arms.
They chose the latter course, and hostilities
were about to begin at Mecca.
Mohammed was sagacious. Seeing himself not sufficiently strong to cope with his
enemies, disliking at first to undertake the
propagation of religion by the sword, he escaped from his native city and took refuge at
the court of Abyssinia. The king received
him and was converted, as were also the members of his court. Nor did his flight from
Mecca discourage his followers in that city.
They continued to proclaim his doctrines and
await his return. Many took sides against
the Koreish, and the latter were obliged to
consent to peace. Mohammed returned little
less than victorious.
A new factor was now introduced into the
situation. About sixty miles from Mecca was
the town of Yathreb. In this place there
was a large colony of Jews, who had established
a synagogue. Here on every Saturday the
priests stood up and expounded Hallachah and
Haggadah-the Law and the Tradition. They
looked for a Messiah, and said: "Lo here and
Lo there." These Israelites traded with Mecca
and found that city profoundly agitated by
the presence of Mohammed. They heard the
Meccans reciting, how the Son of Abdallah
of the tribe of Hashem had become a great
Prophet. This news was carried to Yathreb,
and the synagogue became excited with the
belief that the Messiah had come. The Rabbins took council together, and said: "If this
Mohammed is indeed that great Prophet, let
us, first of all, tender to him our allegiance.
Wherefore, when he shall have become the
ruler of the nations, he will honor us as the
first to accept him." An embassy was sent to
Mecca to ascertain the truth, and to tender
the submission of the Jews. Mohammed cautiously accepted the offer. "For," said he, "Ishmael our father was the uncle of Jacob. Assuredly."
The Koreish now became desperate. They
held a council, and resolved that Mohammed
should be assassinated. A committee was appointed to do the bloody work; but when the
night came for the perpetration of the wicked
deed Mohammed, informed of the conspiracy,
wrapping himself in his cousin Ali's cloak,
and aided by the darkness, escaped from the
perilous city and fled towards Yathreb. This
event, which occurred in the year 622, is called
the Hegira, and is the Era of Islam.
As Mohammed approached Yathreb the
gates were opened by the Jews. He entered
and was safe. The name of the city was
changed from Yathreb to Medinet al Nabbi,
or City of the Prophet-the modern Medina.
From this time forth, the Son of Abdallah
awaited an opportunity to be revenged on
the Meccans. When the time ripened for
the event, the Prophet, accompanied by a
great band of pilgrims, set out from Medina
and returned to Mecca. In that city, so powerful had his influence now become, the Koreish were obliged to submit. They sent out an embassy and concluded a treaty with the conqueror for a period of ten years. The neighboring tribes also sent messengers, tendering their acceptance of his doctrines. The
star of Islam was in the ascendant.
After a year or two the Meccans broke
their treaty; but Mohammed was now strong
enough to enforce obedience. The vocation
of the Koreish was gone. The idolatrous
images were knocked from their places in the
Kaaba, and the renovated temple was dedicated to the worship of Allah.
The Prophet now lost no time in giving
shape to the new religion. He built a mosque
at Medina. He systematized his dogmas.
He labored with the discordant elements of
Arabian thought. He struggled with belligerent factions. He allayed feuds, jealousies,
and schisms. He consolidated the scattered
bands of his followers, and planned great foreign wars. His purpose contemplated no less
than the subjugation of the world by the Book
and sword of Islam.
In the beginning of his military career