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Adam Mohammedan's legend


THE BIBLE, THE KORAN, AND THE TALMUD

OR

BIBLICAL LEGENDS OF THE MUSSULMANS

BY DR. G. WEIL

[NEW YORK, 1863]


ADAM (A MOHAMMEDAN'S LEGEND)

THE most authentic records of antiquity which have come down to us state that Adam was created on Friday afternoon, at the hour of Assr.1

The four most exalted angels, Gabriel, Michael, Israfil, and Israil, were commanded to bring from the four corners of the earth the dust out of which Allah formed the body of Adam, all save the head and heart. For these He employed exclusively the sacred earth of Mecca and Medina, from the very spots on which, in later times, the holy Kaaba and the sepulchre of Mohammed were erected.2

Even before it was animated, Adam's beautiful form excited the admiration of the angels who were passing by the gates of Paradise, where Allah had laid it down. But Iblis coveted man's noble form, and the spiritual and lovely expression of his countenance, and said, therefore, to his fellows, "How can this hollow piece of earth be well pleasing in your sight? Nothing but weakness and frailty may be expected of this creature." When all the inhabitants of heaven, save Iblis, had gazed on Adam in long and silent wonder, they burst out in praises to Allah, the creator of the first man, who was so tall, that when be stood erect upon the earth his head reached to the seventh heaven.

Allah then directed the angels to bathe the Soul of Adam, which he had created a thousand years before his body, in the sea of glory which proceedeth from himself, and commanded her to animate his yet lifeless form. The Soul hesitated, for she was unwilling to exchange the boundless heavens for this narrow home; but Allah said, "Thou must animate Adam even against thy will; and as the punishment of thy disobedience, thou shalt one day be separated from him also against thy will." Allah then breathed upon her with such violence that she rushed through the nostrils of Adam into his head. On reaching his eyes, they were opened, and he saw the throne of Allah, with the inscription, "There is out one GOD, and Mohammed is his Messenger."

The Soul then penetrated to his ears, and he heard the angels praising Allah; thereupon his own tongue was loosed, and he cried, "Blessed be thou, my Creator, the only One and Eternal!" and Allah answered, "For this end wast thou created; thou and thy descendants shall worship me; so shall ye ever obtain grace and mercy." The Soul at last pervaded all the limbs of Adam; and when she had reached his feet, she gave him the power to rise; but, on rising, he was obliged to shut his eyes, for a light shone on him from the throne of the Lord which he was unable to endure; and pointing with one hand toward it, while he shaded his eyes with the other, he inquired, "O Allah! what flames are those?" "It is the light of a prophet who shall descend from thee and appear on earth in the latter times. By my glory, only for his sake have I created thee and the whole world.3 In heaven his name is Ahmed, 4 but he shall be called Mohammed on earth, and he shall restore mankind from vice and falsehood to the path of virtue and truth."

All created things were then assembled before Adam, and Allah taught him the names of all beasts, of birds, and of fish; the manner in which they are sustained and propagated, and explained their peculiarities, and the ends of their existence. Finally, the angels were convoked, and Allah commanded them to bow down to Adam, as the most free and perfect of His creatures, and as the only one that was animated by His breath. Israfil was the first to obey, whence Allah confided to him the book of Fate. The other angels followed his example: Iblis alone was disobedient, saying, with disdain, "Shall I, who am created of fire, worship a being formed of the dust?" He was therefore expelled from heaven, and the entrance into Paradise was forbidden him.

Adam breathed more freely after the removal of Iblis; and by command of Allah, he addressed the myriads of angels who were standing around him, in praise of His omnipotence and the wonders of His universe; and on this occasion he manifested to the angels that he far surpassed them in wisdom, and more especially in the knowledge of languages, for he knew the name of every created thing in seventy different tongues. 5

After this discourse, Allah presented him, through Gabriel, with a bunch of grapes from Paradise, and when he had eaten them he fell into a deep sleep. The Lord then took a rib from Adam's side, and formed a woman of it, whom he called Hava [Eve], for he said, I have taken her from (hai) the living. She bore a perfect resemblance to Adam; but her features were more delicate than his, and her eyes shone with a sweeter luster, her hair was longer, and divided into seven hundred braids; her form was lighter, and her voice more soft and pure.

While Allah was endowing Eve with every female charm, Adam was dreaming of a second human being resembling himself. Nor was this strange, for had he not seen all the creatures which had been presented to him in pairs? When, therefore, he awoke, and found Eve near him, he desired to embrace her; yet, although her love exceeded his own, she forbade him, and said, "Allah is my lord; it is only with his permission that I may be thine! Besides, it is not meet that a woman should be wedded without a marriage gift."

Adam then prayed the angel Gabriel to intercede for him with Allah, that he might obtain Eve for his wife, and to inquire what marriage gift would be demanded. The angel soon returned, and said, "Eve is thine, for Allah has created her only for thee! Love her as thyself, and treat her with indulgence and kindness. The marriage gift which he requires of thee is, that thou shouldst pray twenty times for Mohammed, his beloved, whose body shall one day be formed out of thy flesh and blood, but whose soul has dwelt in Allah's presence many thousand years before the creation of the world." 6

Ridwhan, the guardian of Eden, came leading Meimun, the winged horse, and a fleet she-camel. The one he presented to Adam, the other to Eve. The angel Gabriel assisted them in mounting, and conducted them to Paradise, where all the angels and animals present saluted them with the words, "Hail! ye parents of Mohammed!"

In the midst of Paradise there stood a green silken tent, supported on golden pillars, and in the midst of it there was a throne, on which Adam seated himself with Eve, whereupon the curtains of the tent closed around them of their own accord.

When Adam and Eve were afterward walking through the garden, Gabriel came and commanded them, in the name of Allah, to go and bathe in one of the four rivers of Paradise. Allah himself then said to them, "I have appointed this garden for your abode; it will shelter you from cold and heat, from hunger and thirst. Take, at your discretion, of every thing that it contains; only one of its fruits shall be denied you. Beware that ye transgress not this one command, and watch against the wily rancor of Iblis! He is your enemy, because he was overthrown on your account; his cunning is infinite, and he aims at your destruction."

The newly-created pair attended to Allah's words, and lived a long time, some say five hundred years, in Paradise without approaching the forbidden tree. But Iblis also had listened to Allah, and resolving to lead man into sin, wandered constantly in the outskirts of heaven, seeking to glide unobserved into Paradise. But its gates were shut, and guarded by the angel Ridwhan. One day the peacock came out of the garden. He was then the finest of the birds of Paradise, for his plumage shone like pearl and emerald, and his voice was so melodious that he was appointed to sing the praise of Allah daily in the main streets of heaven.

Iblis, on seeing him, said to himself, "Doubtless this beautiful bird is very vain: perhaps I may be able to induce him by flattery to bring me secretly into the garden."

When the peacock had gone so far from the gates that he could no longer be overheard by Ridwhan, Iblis said to him,

"Most wonderful and beautiful bird! art thou of the birds of Paradise?"

"I am; but who art thou, who seemest frightened as if some one did pursue thee?"

"I am one of those cherubim who are appointed to sing without ceasing the praises of Allah, but have glided away for an instant to visit the Paradise which he has prepared for the faithful. Wilt thou conceal me under thy beautiful wings?"

"Why should I do an act which must bring the displeasure of Allah upon me?"

"Take me with thee, charming bird, and I will teach thee three mysterious words, which shall preserve thee from sickness, age, and death."

"Must, then, the inhabitants of Paradise die?"

"All, without exception, who know not the three words which I possess."

"Speakest thou the truth?"

"By Allah the Almighty!"

The peacock believed him, for he did not even dream that any creature would swear falsely by its maker; yet, fearing lest Ridwhan might search him too closely on his return, he steadily refused to take Iblis along with him, but promised to send out the serpent, who might more easily discover the means of introducing him unobservedly into the garden.

Now the serpent was at first the queen of all beasts. Her head was like rubies, and her eyes like emerald. Her skin shone like a mirror of various hues. Her hair was soft like that of a noble virgin; and her form resembled the stately camel; her breath was sweet like musk and amber, and all her words were songs of praise. She fed on saffron, and her resting-places were on the blooming borders of the beautiful Cantharus. 7 She was created a thousand years before Adam, and destined to be the playmate of Eve.

"This fair and prudent being," said the peacock to himself, "must be even more desirous than I to remain in eternal youth and vigor, and will undoubtedly dare the displeasure of Ridwhan at the price of the three invaluable words." He was right in his conjecture, for no sooner had he informed the serpent of his adventure than she exclaimed, "Can it be so? Shall I be visited by death? Shall my breath expire, my tongue be paralyzed, and my limbs become impotent? Shall my eyes and ears be closed in night? And this noble form of mine, shall it perish in the dust? Never, never! Even if Ridwhan's wrath should light upon me, I will hasten to the cherub, and will lead him into Paradise, so he but teach me the three mysterious words."

The serpent ran forthwith out of the gate, and Iblis repeated to her what he had said to the peacock, confirming his words by an oath. "How can I bring thee into Paradise unobserved?" inquired the serpent.

"I will contract myself into so small a bulk that I shall find room in a cavity of thy teeth!"

"But how shall I answer Ridwhan if he addresses me?"

"Fear nothing; I will utter holy names that shall render him speechless."

The serpent then opened her mouth: Iblis flew into it, and, seating himself in the hollow part of her front teeth, poisoned them to all eternity. When they had passed Ridwhan, who was not able to utter a sound, the serpent opened her mouth again, expeeting that the cherub would resume his natural shape, but Iblis preferred to remain where he was, and to speak to Adam from the serpent's mouth, and in her name. After some resistance, she consented, from fear of Ridwhan, and from her anxiety to obtain the mysterious words. Arrived at Eve's tent, Iblis heaved a deep sigh: the first which envy had forced from any living breast.

"Why art thou so cast down to-day, my beloved serpent?" inquired Eve, who had heard the sigh.

"I am anxious for the future destiny of thee and of thy husband," replied Iblis, imitating the voice of the serpent.

"How! Do we not possess in these gardens of Eden all that we can desire?"

"True; and yet the best of the fruits of this garden, and the only one which can procure you perfect felicity, is denied you."

"Have we not fruits in abundanee of every taste and color? why should we regret this one?"

"If thou knewest why this fruit is denied you, all the rest would afford thee no pleasure."

"Knowest thou the reason?"

"I do; and it is precisely this knowledge which fills my heart with care; for while all the fruits which are given you bring with them weakness, disease, old age, and death, that is, the entire cessation of life, this forbidden fruit alone bestows eternal youth and vigor."

"Thou hast never spoken of these things until now, beloved serpent; whence derivest thou this knowledge?"

"An angel informed me of it, whom I met under the forbidden tree."

Eve answered, "I will go and speak with him;" and, leaving her tent, she hurried toward the tree.

On the instant, Iblis, who knew Eve's curiosity, sprang out of the serpent's mouth, and was standing under the forbidden tree, in the shape of an angel, but with a human face, before Eve had reached it.

"Who art thou, singular being," she inquired, "whose like I have never seen?"

"I was man, but have become an angel?{sic}"

"By what means?"

"By eating of this blessed fruit, which an envious God had forbidden me to taste on pain of death. I long submitted to his command, until I became old and frail; my eyes lost their luster and grew dim, my ears no longer heard, my teeth decayed, and I could neither eat without pain, nor speak with distinctness. My hands trembled, my feet shook, my head hung down upon my breast, my back was bent, and my whole appearance became at last so frightful that all the inhabitants of Paradise fled from me. I then longed for death, and expecting to meet it by eating of this fruit, I stretched out my hands and took of it; but lo! it had scarcely touched my lips, when I became strong and beautiful as at first; and though many thousand years have since elapsed, I am not sensible of the slightest change either in my appearance or in my energies."

"Speakest thou the truth?"

"By Allah, who created me, I do."

Eve trusted to his oath, and plucked an ear of the wheat-tree.

Now, before Adam's sin, wheat grew upon the finest tree of Paradise. Its trunk was of gold, its branches were of silver, and its leaves of emerald. From every branch there sprung seven ears of ruby; each ear contained five grains, and every grain was white as snow, sweet as honey, fragrant as musk, and as large as an ostrich's egg. Eve ate one of these grains, and finding it more pleasant than all she had hitherto tasted, she took a second one and presented it to her husband.

Adam resisted long—our doctors say, a whole hour of Paradise, which means eighty years of our time on earth; but when he observed that Eve remained fair and happy as before, he yielded to her importunity at last, and ate the second grain of wheat, which she had had constantly with her, and presented to him three times every day.

Scarcely had Adam received the fruit when his crown rose toward heaven, his rings fell from his fingers, and his silken robe dropped from him. Eve, too, stood spoiled of her ornaments and naked before him, and they heard how all these things cried to them with one voice, "Woe unto you! your calamity is great, and your mourning will be long: we were created for the obedient only: farewell until the resurrection!" The throne which had been erected for them in the tent thrust them away and cried, "Rebels, depart!" The horse Meimun, upon which Adam attempted to fly, would not suffer him to mount, and said, "Hast thou thus kept the covenant of Allah?"

All the creatures of Paradise then turned from them, and besought Allah to remove the human pair from that hallowed spot, Allah himself addressed Adam in a voice of thunder, and said, "Wast thou not commanded to abstain from this fruit, and forewarned of the cunning of Iblis, thy foe?" Adam attempted to flee from these upbraidings, and Eve would have followed him, but he was held fast by the branches of the tree Talh, and Eve was entangled in her own disheveled hair, while a voice from the tree exclaimed, "From the wrath of Allah there is no escape: submit to his divine decree! Leave this Paradise," continued Allah, in tones of wrath, "both you, and the creatures which have seduced you to transgress: by the sweat of your brow alone shall you earn your bread; the earth shall henceforth be your abode, and its possessions shall fill your hearts with envy and malice! Eve shall be visited with all kinds of sickness, and bear children in pain. The peacock shall be deprived of his voice, and the serpent of her feet. The darkest caverns of the earth shall be her dwelling-place, dust shall be her food, and to kill her bring sevenfold reward. But Iblis shall depart into the eternal pains of hell."

Hereupon they were hurled down from Paradise with such precipitancy that Adam and Eve could scarcely snatch a leaf from one of the trees wherewith to cover themselves. Adam was flung out through the Gate of Repentance, teaching him that he might return through contrition; Eve through the Gate of Mercy; the peacock and the serpent through the Gate of Wrath, but Iblis through that of the Curse.

Adam came down on the island Serendib, Eve on Djidda, the serpent fell into the Sahara, the peacock into Persia, and Iblis dropped into the torrent Aila.

When Adam touched the earth, the eagle said to the whale, with whom he had hitherto lived on friendly terms, and had whiled away many an hour in pleasant converse on the shores of the Indian Ocean, "We must now part forever; for the lowest depths of the sea and the loftiest mountain tops will henceforth scarcely preserve us from the cunning and malice of men."

Adam's distress in his solitude was so great that his beard began to grow, though his face had hitherto been smooth; and this new appearance increased his grief until he heard voice which said to him, "The beard is the ornament of man upon the earth, and distinguishes him from the weaker woman."

Adam shed such an abundance of tears that all beasts and birds satisfied their thirst therewith; but some of them sunk into the earth, and, as they still contained some of the juices of his food in Paradise, produced the most fragrant trees and spices.

Eve also was desolate in Djidda, for she did not see Adam, although he was so tall that his head touched the lowest heaven, and the songs of the angels were distinctly audible to him. She wept bitterly, and her tears, which flowed into the ocean, were changed into costly pearls, while those which fell on the earth brought forth all beautiful flowers.

Adam and Eve lamented so loudly that the east wind carried Eve's voice to Adam, while the west wind bore his to Eve. She wrung her hands over her head, which women in despair are still in the habit of doing; while Adam laid his right hand on his beard, which custom is still followed by men in sorrow unto this day.

The tears flowed at last in such torrents from Adam's eyes, that those of his right eye started the Euphrates, while those of his left set the Tigris in motion.

All nature wept with him, and the birds, and beasts, and insects, which had fled from Adam by reason of his sin, were now touched by his lamentations, and came back to manifest their sympathy.

First came the locusts, for they were formed out of the earth which remained after Adam was created. Of these there are seven thousand different kinds of every color and size, some even as large as an eagle. They are governed by a king, to whom Allah reveals his will whenever he intends to chasten a wicked people, such as, for instance, the Egyptians were at the time of Pharaoh. The black letters on the back of their wings are ancient Hebrew, and signify, "There is but one only God. He overcomes the mighty, and the locusts are part of his armies, which he sends against sinners."

When at last the whole universe grew loud with lamentation, and all created beings, from the smallest insect up to the angels who hold whole worlds in one hand, were weeping with Adam, Allah sent Gabriel to him with the words which were destined to save also the prophet Jonah in the whale's belly:

"There is no God besides thee. I have sinned; forgive me through Mohammed, thy last and greatest prophet, whose name is engraved upon thy holy throne."

As soon as Adam had pronounced these words with penitent heart, the portals of heaven were opened to him again, and Gabriel cried, "Allah has accepted thy repentance. Pray to him, and he will grant all thy requests, and even restore thee to Paradise at the appointed time." Adam prayed:

"Defend me against the future artifices of Iblis my foe!"

Allah replied:

"Say continually there is no God but one, and thou shalt wound him as with a poisoned arrow."

"Will not the meats and drinks of the earth, and its dwellings, ensnare me?"

"Drink water, eat clean animals slain in the name of Allah, and build mosques for thy abode; so shall Iblis have no power over thee."

"But if he pursue me with evil thoughts and dreams in the night?"

"Then rise from thy couch and pray."

"O Allah! how shall I always distinguish between good and evil?"

"I will grant thee my guidance: two angels shall dwell in thy heart; one to warn thee against sin, the other to lead thee to the practice of good."

"Lord, assure me of thy pardon also for my future sins."

"This thou canst only gain by works of righteousness! I shall punish sin but once, and reward sevenfold the good which thou shalt do."

At the same time the angel Michael was sent to Eve, announcing to her also the mercy of Allah.

"With what weapons," inquired she, "shall I, who am weak in heart and mind, fight against sin?"

"Allah has endued thee with the feeling of shame, and through its power thou shalt subdue thy passions, even as man conquers his own by faith."

"Who shall protect me against the power of man, who is not only stronger in body and mind, but whom also the law prefers as heir and witness?"

"His love and compassion toward thee, which I have put into his heart."

"Will Allah grant me no other token of his favor?"

"Thou shalt be rewarded for all the pains of motherhood, and the death of a woman in childbed shall be accounted as martyrdom."

Iblis, emboldened by the pardon of the human pair, ventured also to pray for a mitigation of his sentence, and obtained its deferment until the resurrection, as well as an unlimited power over sinners who do not accept the word of Allah.

"Where shall I dwell in the mean time?" said he.

"In ruins, in tombs, and all other unclean places shunned by man!"

"What shall be my food?"

"All things slain in the name of idols."

"How shall I quench my thirst?"

"With wine and intoxicating liquors!"

"What shall occupy my leisure hours?"

"Music, song, love-poetry, and dancing."

"What is my watchword?"

"The curse of Allah until the day of judgment."

"But how shall I contend with man, to whom thou hast granted two guardian angels, and who has received thy revelation?"

"Thy progeny shall be more numerous than his; for every man that is born, there shall come into the world seven evil spirits; but they shall be powerless against the faithful."

Allah then inade a covenant with the descendants of Adam. He touched Adam's back, and lo! the whole human family which shall be born to the end of time issued forth from it, as small as ants, and ranged themselves right and left.

At the head of the former stood Mohammed, with the prophets and the rest of the faithful, whose radiant whiteness distinguished them from the sinners, who were standing on Adam's left, headed by Kabil [Cain], the murderer of his brother.

Allah then acquainted the progenitor of man with the names and destinies of each individual; and when it came to King David the prophet's turn, to whom was originally assigned a lifetime of only thirty years, Adam inquired, "How many years are appointed to me?"

"One thousand," was the answer. 8

"I will renounce seventy if thou wilt add them to the life of David!"

Allah consented; but, aware of Adam's forgetfulness, directed this grant to be recorded on a parchment, which Gabriel and Michael signed as witnesses. 9

Allah then cried to the assembled human family, "Confess that I am the only God, and that Mohammed is my messenger." The hosts to the right made their confession immediately; but those to the left hesitated, some repeating but one half of Allah's words, and others remaining entirely silent. And Allah continued: "The disobedient and impenitent shall suffer the pains of eternal fire, but the faithful shall be blessed in Paradise!"

"So be it!" responded Adam; who shall call every man by name in the day of the resurrection, and pronounce his sentence according as the balance of justice shall decide.

When the covenant was concluded, Allah once more touched Adam's back, and the whole human race returned to him.

And when Allah was now about to withdraw his presence for the whole of this life from Adam, the latter uttered so loud a cry, that the whole earth shook to its foundations: the All-merciful thereupon extended his clemency, and said, "Follow yonder cloud; it shall lead thee to the place which lies directly opposite my heavenly throne; build me a temple there, and when thou walkest around it, I shall be as near to thee as to the angels which encompass my throne!"

Adam, who still retained his original stature, in a few hours made the journey from India to Mecca, where the cloud which had conducted him stood still. On Mount Arafa, near Mecca, he found, to his great joy, Eve his wife, whence also this mountain (from Arafa, to know, to recognize) derives its name. They immediately began to build a temple with four gates, and they called the first gate the Gate of Adam; the second, the Gate of Abraham; the third, the Gate of Ismael; and the fourth, the Gate of Mohammed. The plan of the building they had received from the angel Gabriel, who had, at the same time, brought them a large diamond of exquisite brightness, which was afterward sullied by the sins of men, and at last became entirely black.

This black stone, the most sacred treasure of the blessed Kaaba, was originally the angel who guarded the forbidden tree, and was charged to warn Adam if he should approach it, but, having neglected his trust, he was changed into a jewel, and at the day of judgment he shall resume his pristine form and return to the holy angels.

Gabriel then instructed Adam in all the ceremonies of pilgrimage, precisely as they were instituted by Mohammed at a later period; nor was he permitted to behold Eve his wife until the evening of Thursday, when the holy days were ended.

On the following morning Adam returned with his wife to India, and abode there during the remainder of his life. But he went every year on a pilgrimage to Mecca, until he at last lost his original size, retaining a height of only sixty yards. This diminution of his stature, according to the tradition of the learned, was caused by the excessive terror and grief which he experienced in consequence of the murder of Abel.

For Eve had born him two sons; whom he named Kabil and Habil [Cain and Abel], and several daughters, whom he gave in marriage to their brothers. The fairest of them he intended for Abel, but Cain was displeased, and desired to obtain her, though he had a wife already. Adam referred the decision to Allah, and said to his sons, "Let each of you offer a sacrifice, and he to whom Allah vouchsafes a sign of acceptance shall marry her." Abel offered a fatted ram, and fire came down from heaven and consumed it; but Cain brought some fruits, which remained untouched upon the altar. He was thereupon filled with envy and hatred toward his brother, but knew not how he might destroy his life. 10

One day Iblis placed himself in Cain's way as he walked with Abel in the field, and seizing a stone, shattered therewith the head of an approaching wolf; Cain followed his example, and with a large stone struck his brother's forehead till he fell lifeless to the ground. Iblis then assumed the shape of a raven, and having killed another raven, dug a hole in the earth with his bill, and laying the dead one into it, covered it with the earth which he had dug up. Cain did the same with his brother, 11 so that Adam was long in ignorance of the fate of his son, and shrunk together through care and sorrow. It was not until he had fully learned what had befallen Abel that he resigned himself to the will of Allah, and was comforted.

Now the discovery of Abel's corpse took place in this wise: Since his expulsion from Eden, Adam had lived on wild herbs, fruits, and meat, when, at Allah's command, the angel Gabriel brought him the remaining grains of wheat which Eve had plucked, a yoke of oxen, the various implements of husbandry, and instructed him in ploughing, sowing, and reaping.

While he was one day working in the field, his plough suddenly stopped, nor were all the exertions of his cattle able to move it. Adam struck the oxen, and the eldest of them said to him,

"Why dost thou strike me? Did Allah strike thee when thou wast disobedient?"

Adam prayed. "O Allah! after thou hast forgiven my sin, shall every beast of the field be permitted to reprove me?"

Allah heard him, and from that moment the brute creation lost the power of speech. Meanwhile, as the plough still remained immovable, Adam opened the ground, and found the still distinguishable remains of his son Abel.

At the time of harvest, Gabriel came again and instructed Eve in making bread. Adam then built an oven, and Gabriel brought fire from hell, but, first washed it seventy times in the sea, otherwise it would have consumed the earth with all that it contained. When the bread was baked, he said to Adam,

"This shall be thy and thy children's chief nourishment."

Although Adam had shed so many tears over the labor of the plough that they served instead of rain to moisten and to fructify the seed, yet were his descendants doomed to still greater toil by reason of their iniquities. Even in the days of (Enoch) Idris, the grain of wheat was no larger than a goose's egg: in those of Elias it shrunk to the size of a hen's egg: when the Jews attempted to kill Christ, it became like a pigeon's egg; and, finally, under Uzier's (Esdras's) rule it took its present bulk.

When Adam and Eve were fully instructed in agricultural cookery, the angel Gabriel brought a lamb, and taught Adam to kill it in the name of Allah, to shear its wool, to strip its hide, and to tan it. Eve spun and wove under the angel's direction, making a veil for herself and a garment for Adam, and both Adam and Eve imparted the information which they had received from Gabriel to their grand-children and great-grand-children, in number forty, or, according to others, seventy thousand.

After the death of Abel and Cain, the latter of whom was slain by the blood-avenging angel, Eve gave birth to a third son, whom she called Sheth: he became the father of many sons and daughters, and is the ancestor of all prophets.

The 930th year of Adam's life came at last to its close, and the Angel of Death appeared to him in the shape of an unsightly he-goat, and demanded his soul, while the earth opened under his feet, and demanded his body. Adam trembled with fear, and said to the Angel of Death, "Allah has promised me a lifetime of a thousand years: thou hast come too soon." "Hast thou not granted seventy years of thy life David?" replied the angel. Adam denied for he had indeed forgotten the circumstance; but the Angel of Death drew forth from his beard the parchment in which the grant was written, and spread it out before Adam, who, on seeing it, willingly gave up his soul.

His son Sheth washed and buried him, after that Gabriel, or, according to others, Allah himself, had pronounced a blessing. The same was done with Eve, who died in the following year.

In regard to the places of their burial, the learned differ. Some have named India; other traditions fix on Mount Kubeis, and even on Jerusalem. Allah alone is omniscient.


Footnotes

1 The hour of Assr is between noon and evening, and is set apart by the Mussulman for the performance of his third daily prayer.

2 Mohammed, the founder of Islam, was born in 571 A.D., at Mecca, where the Kaaba, then an ancient temple, was held in great veneration. In 622 the idolaters of Mecca compelled him to emigrate to Medina, where he died in June, 632. Vide Gustavus Weill. Mohamed der Prophet, sein Leben und seine Lehre, Stuttgart, 1843, 8vo.

3 The Midrash Jalkut (Frankfort on the O., 5469), says Rabbi Juda, teaches that the world was created on account of the merits of Israel. R. Hosia says it was created on account of the Thora (the Law); and R. Barachia, on account of the merits of Moses.

4 The much-praised One.

5 When the Lord intended to create man, he consulted with the angels, and said to them, "We will create man after our image." But they replied, "What is man, that thou art mindful of him? What are his excellences?" He said, "His wisdom exceeds your own." He then took all kinds of wild beasts and birds, and when he asked the angels to give their names, they were not able to do so. After the creation, he brought these animals to Adam, who, on being asked their names, replied immediately, "This is an ox, this is an ass, that a horse, a camel," (Compare Geiger, Was hat Mohamed aus dem Judenthum aufgenommen, p. 99, )

6 The idea that many things existed before the creation of the world is purely Jewish. The Mussulmans adopted it. Some of them maintained that the Koran had existed before the world, which assertion excited many bloody contests among them. The Midrash Jalkut, p. 7, says, Seven things were in existence before the creation of the world: the Thora, Repentance, Paradise, Hell, the Throne of God, the name of the Messiah, and the holy Temple. Some maintain that the throne and the Thora really existed, while the Lord only thought of the other five before he created the world.

7 One of the rivers of Paradise.

8 Nine hundred and thirty years was the lifetime of Adam, according to Gen., v., 3.

9 The Lord showed to Adam every future generation, with their heads, sages, and scribes. He saw that David was destined to live only three hours, and said, "Lord and Creator of the world, is this unalterably fixed?" The Lord answered,

"It was my original design!"

"How many years shall I live?"

"One thousand,"

"Are grants known in Heaven?"

"Certainly!"

"I grant, then, seventy years of my life to David!"

What did Adam therefore do? He gave a written grant, set his seal to it, and the same was done by the Lord and Metatron.—Midrash Jalkut, p. 12.

10 Cain and Abel divided the world between them, the one taking possession of the movable, and the other of the immovable property. Cain said to his brother, "The earth on which thou standest is mine; then betake thyself to the air;" but Abel replied, "The garments which thou wearest are mine; take them off!" There arose a conflict between them, which ended in Abel's death. R. Huna teaches, They contended for a twin sister of Abel's: the latter claimed her because she was born with him; but Cain pleaded his right of primogeniture.—Midrash, p. 11.

11 The dog which had watched Abel's flocks guarded also his corpse, protecting it against the beasts and birds of prey. Adam and Eve sat beside it, and wept, not knowing what to do. But a raven, whose friend had died, said, "I will go and teach Adam what he must do with his son." It dug a grave and laid the dead raven in it. When Adam saw this, he said to Eve, "Let us do the same with our child." The Lord rewarded the raven, and no one is allowed, therefore, to harm their young; they have food in abundance, and their cry for rain is always heard. R. Johanan teaches, Cain was not aware of the Lord's knowledge of hidden things; he therefore buried Abel, and replied to the Lord's inquiry, "Where is Abel, thy brother?" "Am I my brother's keeper?"—Midrash, p. 11.


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