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Veiled Mysteries of Egypt and the Religion of Islam
     

Veiled Mysteries of Egypt and the Religion of Islam

by S. H. Leeder
 

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VEILED MYSTERIES OF EGYPT TO EDWARD BOUSFIELD DAWSON AS A SIGN OF AFFECTION AND GRATITUDE PREFACE THERE has always been a veil of mystery over the religion of Islam, from its very first days. The mockery of the Jews stung the early Moslems, who sprang from a people keenly sensitive to ridicule, as they arc even now. The bitterest sayings of the Prophet were excited by

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VEILED MYSTERIES OF EGYPT TO EDWARD BOUSFIELD DAWSON AS A SIGN OF AFFECTION AND GRATITUDE PREFACE THERE has always been a veil of mystery over the religion of Islam, from its very first days. The mockery of the Jews stung the early Moslems, who sprang from a people keenly sensitive to ridicule, as they arc even now. The bitterest sayings of the Prophet were excited by those who scoffed at the religious exercises of himself and his followers. It was mockery that led Mohammed to enjoin secrecy for much of the liturgical worship of his people, and possibly had something to do with the order to seal Arabia, and the Holy Cities of Medina and Mecca especially, against all men of a different faith. It is the fear of mockery which closes the most sacred places of Islam to this day, a fear which in some places engenders a fanatical resentment against the prying of strangers. Secrecy has told against a proper understanding of the practices of this religion An almost invulnerable reticence on the part of its adherents has led the casual or unsympathetic observer into mistaken judgments, or has left those in deep ignorance of the truth, who, dealing with a franker people, would, by residence amongst them, have become familiar with the views and practices of their neighbours. It is a rare thing in Egypt, for instance, to find anything more than a superficial know ledge of Islam on the part of European residents. As for the ordinary tourist, between the chicanery of the vii viii PREFACE plausible scamp calling himself a dragoman, and the deep reserve of the religious Moslem, it is something less than knowledge that he takes away with him. To anyone who would understand the greater human forces at work in the world, the importance of something like a just appreciation of a religion numbering over two hundred and sixty million souls is at once evident. Napoleon at one period of his life thought to use this great force in his project of a world-conquest, and declared that he might even become a Moslem himself, In our present day we have seen the approach of Ger many to Islamic Turkey, with an undoubted eye on the Chaliphate of Islam the Kaiser going so far as to speak of the Sultan as my friend and ally. In Cairo I have heard the suggestion, from Mr. Carl Peters himself, which in one of his recent bocks of travel he puts into precise words There is one factor which might fall on our side of the balance, and in the case of a world-war might be made useful to us that factor is Islam-As Pan-Islamism it could be played against Great Britain, as well as against the French Republic, and if German policy is bold enough, it can fashion the dynamite to blow into air the rule of the Western Powers from Cape Nun Morocco to Calcutta And yet the extent of the ignorance of Islam in the West is as great as it is incomprehensible. Any man who has nothing to guide him but the popular knowledge of the Prophet of Arabia and his teachings, as they affect his followers to-day, must find, as I did, when I came to live with the Arab folk of North Africa, and later of Egypt, and to read the Koran for myself, how perplexingly ignorant of the truth he i. If he turns to the writings of the professional Oriental- PREFACE ix ist lie finds little real help, for they arc redolent of the lamp, and seldom of the ways and haunts of living men to the writings of the missionaries, he finds them in many cases imbued with a strange dislike of everything Islamic, which makes them partial, and inadequate to really inform the mind of the unprejudiced inquirer. I do not writo this in antagonism to the work of the missionaries. But I am bound to admit that I know nothing more misleading than those missionary writings, which are having the greatest acceptance just now, of the Rev W. St. Clair-Tisdall, whose Religion of the Cres cent I consider a heartless book, for all its scholarship...

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BN ID:
2940025078159
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Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
714 KB

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