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THE RECONCILIATION

OF

RACES AND RELIGIONS

BY

THOMAS KELLY CHEYNE, D.Lrr, D.D. YUSASIW OF THE CRITIDU ACADEMY UEULER OF THE BAVA VIOKAM (LAHORE), THE CAHAL COMMUMITY, ETC. BUYANIL, PEIZOT OF THER PEINCE OF FEACE

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ADAM AND CHARLES BLACK 1914

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TO MY DEAR WIFE IN WHOSE POEMS ARE COMBINED AN ARDENT FAITH, AN UNIVERSAL CHARITY, AND A SIMPLICITY OF STYLE

WHICH SOMETIMES REMINDS ME OF THE POET SEER

WILLIAM BLAKE

MAY SHE ACCEPT AND ENJOY THE OFFERING AND MAY A LIKE HAPPINESS BE MY LOT

WHEN THE LITTLE VOLUME REACHES THE HANDS

OF THE AMBASSADOR OF PEACE

332670

PREFACE

\ THE primary aim of this work is twofold. It would fain contribute to the cause of universal peace, and promote the better understanding of the various religions which really are but one religion. The union of religions must necessarily precede the union of races, which at present is so lamentably incomplete. It appears to me that none of the men or women of good-will is justified in withholding any suggestions which may have occurred tohim. For the crisis, both political and religious, is alarming.

The question being ultimately a religious one, the author may be pardoned if he devotes most of his space to the most important of its religious aspects. He leaves it open to students of Christian politics to make known what is the actual state of things, and how this is to be remedied. He has, however, tried to help the reader by reprinting the very noble Manifesto of the Society of Friends, called forth by the declara-

vu

vii RECONCILIATION OF RACES AND RELIGIONS

tion of war against Germany by England on the fourth day of August 1914.

In some respects I should have preferred a Manifesto representing the lofty views of the present Head of another Society of Friends—the Bahai Fraternity. Peace on earth has been the ideal of the Babis and Bahais since the Bab’s time, and Professor E, G. Browne has perpetuated Baha-’ullah’s noble declaration of the imminent setting up of the kingdom of God, based upon universal peace. But there is such a thrilling actuality in the Manifesto of the Disciples of George Fox that I could not help availing myself of Mr. Isaac Sharp’s kind permission to me to reprint it. It is indeed an opportune setting forth of the eternal riches, which will commend itself, now as never before, to those who can say, with the Grandfather in Tagore’s poem, ‘I am a jolly pilgrim to the land of losing everything.’ The rulers of this world certainly do not cherish this ideal; but the imminent reconstruction of inter- national relations will have to be founded upon it if we are not to sink back into the gulf of militarism.

I have endeavoured to study the various races and religions on their best side, and not to fetter myself to any individual teacher or party, for ‘out of His fulness have all we received.’ Max

PREFACE ix

Miiller was hardly right in advising the Brahmists to call themselves Christians, and it is a pity that we so habitually speak of Buddhists and Moham- medans. I venture to remark that the favourite mame of the Bahais among themselves is ‘Friends.’ The ordinary name Bahai comes from the divine name Baha, ‘Glory (of God),’ so that Abdul Baha means ‘Servant of the Glory (of God).’ One remembers the beautiful words of the Latin collect, ‘Cui servire regnare est.’

Abdu'l Baha (when in Oxford) graciously gave mea ‘new name. Evidently he thought that my work was not entirely done, and would have me be ever looking for help to the Spirit, whose ‘strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Since then he has written me a Tablet (letter), from which I quote the following lines :—

‘O thou, my spiritual philosopher,

‘Thy letter was received. In reality its contents were eloquent, for it was an evidence of thy literary fairness and of thy investigation of Reality. . . . There were many Doctors amongst the Jews, but they were all earthly, but St. Paul became heavenly because he could fly upwards. In his own time no one duly recognized him ; nay, rather, he spent his days amidst difficulties and contempt. Afterwards

1 Ruhani (‘spiritual’).

x RECONCILIATION OF RACES AND RELIGIONS

it became known that he was not an earthly bird, he was a celestial one; he was not a natural philosopher, but a divine philosopher.

‘It is likewise my hope that in the future the East and the West may become conscious that thou wert a divine philosopher and a herald to the Kingdom.’

I have no wish to write my autobiography, but may mention here that I sympathize largely with Vambeéry, a letter from whom to Abdu! Baha will be found farther on ; though I should express my own adhesion to the Bahai leader in more glowing terms. Wishing to get nearer to a ‘human- catholic’ religion I have sought the privilege of simultaneous membership of several brotherhoods of Friends of God. It is my wish to show that both these and other homes of spiritual life are, when studied from the inside, essentially one, and that religions necessarily issue in racial and world- wide unity, RUHANI,

OXFORD, August 1914.

CONTENTS

PREFACE

INTRODUCTION

PART. I

THE JEWELS OF THE FAITHS

PAR Ei

BIOGRAPHICAL AND HISTORICAL

PART Tet

BIOGRAPHICAL AND HISTORICAL (continued)

PART TV

BIOGRAPHICAL AND HISTORICAL; AMBASSADOR TO HUMANITY .

PAR TN:

A SERIES OF ILLUSTRATIVE STUDIES BEARING ON COMPARATIVE RELIGION

BAHAI BIBLIOGRAPHY xl

PAGE vii

Xlil

Al

135

157

171

215

INTRODUCTION

TO MEN AND WOMEN OF GOODWILL IN THE BRITISH EMPIRE

A Message (reprinted by permisston) from the Religious Society of Friends

WE find ourselves to-day in the midst of what may proye to be the fiercest conflict in the history of the human race. Whatever may be our view of the processes which have led to its inception, we have now to face the fact that war is proceed- ing upon a terrific scale and that our own country is involved in it.

We recognize that our Government has made most strenuous efforts to preserve peace, and has entered into the war under a grave sense of duty to a smaller State, towards which we had moral and treaty obligations. While, as a Society, we stand firmly to the belief that the method of force is no solution of any question, we hold that the present moment is not one for criticism, but for devoted service to our nation.

What is to be the attitude of Christian men and women and of all who believe in the brother- hood of humanity? In the distress and perplexity

of this new situation, many are so stunned as xiii

xiv RECONCILIATION OF RACES AND RELIGIONS

scarcely to be able to discern the path of duty. In the sight of God we should seek to get back to first principles, and to determine on a course of action which shall prove us to be worthy citizens of His Kingdom. In making this effort let us remember those groups of men and women, in all the other nations concerned, who will be animated by a similar spirit, and who believe with us that the fundamental unity of men in the family of God is the one enduring reality, even when we are forced into an apparent denial of it.

Although it would be premature to make any pronouncement upon many aspects of the situation on which we have no sufficient data for a reliable judgment, we can, and do, call ourselves and you to a consideration of certain principles which may safely be enunciated.

1. The conditions which have made this catastrophe possible must be regarded by us as essentially unchristian, This war spells the bankruptcy of much that we too lightly call Christian. No nation, no Church, no individual can be wholly exonerated. We have all partici- pated to some extent in these conditions. We have been content, or too little discontented, with them. If we apportion blame, let us not fail first to blame ourselves, and to seek the forgiveness of Almighty God.

2. In the hour of darkest night it is not for us to lose heart. Never was there greater need

INTRODUCTION xV

for men of faith, To many will come the temptation to deny God, and to turn away with despair from the Christianity which seems to be identified with bloodshed on so gigantic a scale. Christ is crucified afresh to-day. If some forsake Him and flee, let it be more clear that there are others who take their stand with Him, come what may.

3. This we may do by continuing to show the spirit of love to all. For those whose conscience forbids them to take up arms there are other ways of serving, and definite plans are already being made to enable them to take their full share in helping their country at this crisis. In pity and helpfulness towards the suffering and stricken in our own country we shall all share. If we stop at this, ‘what do we more than others ?’ Our Master bids us pray for and love our enemies. May we be saved from forgetting that they too are the children of our Father. May we think of them with love and pity. May we banish thoughts of bitterness, harsh judgments, the re- vengeful spirit. To do this is in no sense un- patriotic. We may find ourselves the subjects of misunderstanding. But our duty is clear—to be courageous in the cause of love and in the hate of hate. May we prepare ourselves even now for the day when once more we shall stand shoulder to shoulder with those with whom we are now at war, in seeking to bring in the Kingdom of God.

xvi RECONCILIATION OF RACES AND RELIGIONS

4. It is not too soon to begin to think out the new situation which will arise at the close of the war. We are being compelled to face the fact that the human race has been guilty of a gigantic folly. We have built up a culture, a civilization, and even a religious life, surpassing in many respects that of any previous age, and we have been content to rest it all upon a foundation of sand, Such a state of society cannot endure so long as the last word in human affairs is brute force. Sooner or later it was bound to crumble. At the close of this war we shall be faced with a stupendous task of reconstruction. In some - ways it will be rendered supremely difficult by the legacy of ill-will, by the destruction of human life, by the tax upon all in meeting the barest wants of the millions who will have suffered through the war. But in other ways it will be easier. We shall be able to make a new start, and to make it all together. From this point of view we may even see a ground of comfort in the fact that our own nation is involved. No country will be in a position which will compel others to struggle again to achieve the inflated standard of military power existing before the war. We shall have an opportunity of reconstructing European culture upon the only possible permanent founda- tion—mutual trust and good-will. Such a re- construction would not only secure the future of European civilization, but would save the world

INTRODUCTION xvii

from the threatened catastrophe of seeing the great nations of the East building their new social order also upon the sand, and thus turning the thought and wealth needed for their education and development into that which could only be a fetter to themselves and a menace to the West. Is it too much to hope for that we shall, when the time comes, be able as brethren together to lay down far-reaching principles for the future of mankind such as will ensure us for ever against a repetition of this gigantic folly? If this is to be accomplished it will need the united and persistent pressure of all who believe in such a future for mankind. There will still be multitudes who can see no good in the culture of other nations, and _ who are unable to believe in any genuine brother- hood among those of different races, Already those who think otherwise must begin to think and plan for such a future if the supreme oppor- tunity of the final peace is not to be lost, and if we are to be saved from being again sucked down into the whirlpool of military aggrandizement and rivalry. In time of peace all the nations have been preparing for war. In the time of war let all men of good-will prepare for peace. The Christian conscience must be awakened to the magnitude of the issues. The great friendly democracies in each country must be ready to make their influence felt. Now is the time to speak of this thing, to work for it, to pray for it.

xviii RECONCILIATION OF RACES AND RELIGIONS

5. If this is to happen, it seems to us of vital importance that the war should not be carried on in any vindictive spirit, and that it should be brought to a close at the earliest possible moment. We should have it clearly before our minds from the beginning that we are not going into it in order to crush and humiliate any nation. The conduct of negotiations has taught us the necessity of prompt action in international affairs. Should the opportunity offer, we, in this nation, should be ready to act with promptitude in demanding that the terms suggested are of a kind which it will be possible for all parties to accept, and that the negotiations be entered upon in the right spirit.

6. We believe in God. Human free will gives us power to hinder the fulfilment of His loving purposes. It also means that we may actively co-operate with Him. If it is given to us to see something of a glorious possible future, after all the desolation and sorrow that lie before us, let us be sure that sight has been given us by Him. No day should close without our putting up our prayer to Him that He will lead His family into a new and better day. At a time when so severe a blow is being struck at the great causes of moral, social, and religious reform for which so many have struggled, we need to look with expectation and confidence to Him, whose cause they are, and find a fresh inspiration in the certainty of His victory.

August 7, 1914.

INTRODUCTION xix

‘In time of war let all men of good-will pre- pare for peace.’ German, French, and English scholars and investigators have done much to show that the search for truth is one of the most powerful links between the different races and nations. It is absurd to speak—as many Germans do habitually speak—of ‘deutsche Wissenschaft,’ as if the glorious tree of scientific and historical knowledge were a purely German production. Many wars like that which closed at Sedan and that which is still, most unhappily, in progress will soon drive lovers of science and culture to the peaceful regions of North America!

The active pursuit of truth is, therefore, one of those things which make for peace. But can we say this of moral and religious truth? In this domain are we not compelled to be partisans and particularists? And has not liberal criti- cism shown that the religious traditions of all races and nations are to be relegated to the least cultured classes? That is the question to the treatment of which I (as a Christian student) offer some contributions in the present volume. But I would first of all express my hearty sympathy with the friends of God in the noble Russian Church, which has appointed the following prayer among others for use at the present crisis :’

Deacon. Stretch forth Thine hand, O Lord, from on high, and touch the hearts of our enemies,

1 Church Times, Sept. 4, 1914.

xx RECONCILIATION OF RACES AND RELIGIONS

that they may turn unto Thee, the God of peace Who lovest Thy creatures: and for Thy Name’s sake strengthen us who put our trust in Thee by Thy might, we beseech Thee. Hear us and have mercy.’

Certainly it is hardness of heart which strikes us most painfully in our (we hope) temporary enemies. The only excuse is that in the Book which Christian nations agree to consider as in some sense and degree religiously authoritative, the establishment of the rule of the Most High is represented as coincident with extreme severities, or—as we might well say—cruelties. I do not, however, think that the excuse, if offered, would be valid. The Gospels must overbear any incon- sistent statement of the Old Testament.

But the greatest utterances of human morality are to be found in the Buddhist Scriptures, and it is a shame to the European peoples that the Buddhist Indian king Asoka should be more Christian than the leaders of ‘German culture.’ I for my part love the old Germany far better than the new, and its high ideals would I hand on, filling up its omissions and correcting its errors. ‘O house of Israel, come ye, let us walk in the light of the Lord.’ Thou art ‘the God of peace Who lovest Thy creatures.’

ork

‘THE JEWELS OF THE FAITHS

A STUDY OF THE CHIEF RELIGIONS ON THEIR BEST SIDE WITH A VIEW TO THEIR EXPANSION AND ENRICHMENT AND TO AN ULTIMATE SYNTHESIS AND TO THE FINAL UNION OF RACES AND NATIONS ON A SPIRITUAL BASIS

THE JEWELS OF-THE FAITHS

THE crisis in the Christian Church is now so acute that we may well seek for some mode of escape from its pressure. The Old Broad Church position is no longer adequate to English cir- cumstances, and there is not yet in existence a thoroughly satisfactory new and original position for a Broad Church student to occupy. Shall we, then, desert the old historic Church in which we were christened and educated? It would cer- tainly be a loss, and not only to ourselves. Or shall we wait with drooping head to be driven out of the Church? Such a cowardly solution may be at once dismissed. Happily we have in the Anglican Church virtually no excommunica- tion. Our only course as students is to go forward, and endeavour to expand our too narrow Church boundaries. Modernists we are; modernists we will remain; let our only object be to be worthy of this noble name.

But we cannot be surprised that our Church rulers are perplexed. For consider the embar-

3

4 RECONCILIATION OF RACES AND RELIGIONS

rassing state of critical investigation. Critical study of the Gospels has shown that very little of the traditional material can be regarded as historical ; it is even very uncertain whether the Galilean prophet really paid the supreme penalty as a supposed enemy of Rome on the shameful cross. Even apart from the problem referred to, it is more than doubtful whether critics have left us enough stones standing in the life of Jesus to serve as the basis of a christology or doctrine of the divine Redeemer. And yet one feels that a theology without a theophany is both dry and difficult to defend. We want an avatar, ze. a ‘descent’ of God in human form; indeed, we seem to need several such ‘descents,’ appropriate to the changing circum- stances of the ages. Did not the author of the Fourth Gospel recognize this? Certainly his portrait of Jesus is so widely different from that of the Synoptists that a genuine reconcilia- tion seems impossible. I would not infer from this that the Jesus of the Fourth Gospel belonged to a different age from the Jesus of the Synoptists, but I would venture to say that the Fourth Evangelist would be easier to defend if he held this theory. The Johannine Jesus ought to have belonged to a different zon.

THE JEWELS OF THE FAITHS 5

ANOTHER IMAGE oF GoD

Well, then, it is reasonable to turn for guidance and help to the East. There was living quite lately a human being of such consummate excellence that many think it is both permissible and inevitable even to identify him mystically with the invisible Godhead. Let us admit, such persons say, that Jesus was the very image of God. But he lived for his own age and his own people ; the Jesus of the critics has but little to say, and no redemptive virtue issues from him to us. But the ‘Blessed Perfection,’ as Baha’ullah used to be called, lives for our age, and offers his spiritual feast to men of all peoples. His story, too, is liable to no diminution at the hands of the critics, simply because the facts of his life are certain. He has now passed from sight, but he is still in the ideal world, a true image of God and a true lover of man, and helps forward the reform of all those manifold abuses which hinder the firm establishment of the kingdom of God. I shall return to this presently. Meanwhile, suffice it to say that though I entertain the highest rever- ence and love for Baha’ullah’s son, Abdul Baha, whom I regard as a Mahatma—‘a great-souled one’—and look up to as one of the highest examples in the spiritual firmament, I hold no brief for the Bahai community, and can be as im- partial in dealing with facts relating to the Bahais

6 RECONCILIATION OF RACES AND RELIGIONS

as with facts which happen to concern my own beloved mother-church, the Church of England.

I shall first of all ask, how it came to pass that so many of us are now seeking help and guidance from the East, some from India, some from Persia, some (which is my own case) from India and from Persia.

BAHA’ULLAH’S PRECURSORS, é.g. THE BAB, SuFism, AND SHEYKH AHMAD

So far as Persia is concerned, the reason is that its religious experience has been no less varied than ancient. Zoroaster, Manes, Christ, Muhammad, Dh’u-Nun (the introducer of Sufism), Sheykh Ahmad (the forerunner of Babism), the Bab himself and Baha’ullah (the two Manifestations), have all left an ineffaceable mark on the national life. The Bab, it is true, again and again expresses his repugnance to the ‘lies’ of the Sufis, and the Babis are not behind him ; but there are traces enough of the influence of Sufism on the new Prophet and his followers. The passion for martyrdom seems of itself to pre- Suppose a tincture of Sufism, for it is the most extreme form of the passion for God, and to love God fervently but steadily in preference to all the pleasures of the phenomenal world, is character- istically Sufite.

What is it, then, in Sufism that excites the Bab’s indignation? It is not the doctrine of the

THE JEWELS OF THE FAITHS 7

soul’s oneness with God as the One Absolute Being, and the reality of the soul’s ecstatic com- munion with Him. Several passages are quoted by Mons. Nicolas' on the attitude of the Bab towards Sufism ; suffice it here to quote one of them.

‘Others (z.e. those who claim, as being identi- fied with God, to possess absolute truth) are known by the name of Sufis, and believe them- selves to possess the internal sense of the Shari‘at” when they are in ignorance alike of its apparent and of its inward meaning, and have fallen far, very far from it! One may perhaps say of them that those people who have no understanding have chosen the route which is entirely of dark- ness and of doubt.’

Ignorance, then, is, according to the Bab, the great fault of the Sufis*® whom he censures, and we may gather that that ignorance was thought to be especially shown in a crude pantheism and a doctrine of incarnation which, according to the Bab, amounts to sheer polytheism.* God in Himself, says the Bab, cannot be known, though a reflected image of Him is attainable by taking

1 Beyan arabe, pp. 3-18.

2 The orthodox Law of Islam, which many Muslims seek to allegorize.

3 Yet the title Sufi connotes knowledge. It means probably ‘one who (like the Buddha on his statues) has a heavenly eye.’ Prajnaparamita (Divine Wisdom) has the same third eye (Havell, Indian Sculpture and Painting, illustr. XLV.).

4 The technical term is association.’

8 RECONCILIATION OF RACES AND RELIGIONS

heed to His manifestations or perfect por- traitures.

Some variety of Sufism, however, sweetly and strongly permeates the teaching of the Bab. It is a Sufism which consists, not in affiliation to any Sufi order, but in the knowledge and love of the Source of the Eternal Ideals. Through de- tachment from this perishable world and earnest seeking for the Eternal, a glimpse of the unseen Reality can be attained. The form of this only true knowledge is subject to change; fresh ‘mirrors’ or ‘portraits’ are provided at the end of each recurring cosmic cycle or zon. But the substance is unchanged and unchangeable. As Prof. Browne remarks, ‘the prophet of a cycle is naught but a reflexion of the Primal Will,—the same sun with a new horizon.’!

Tue BAs

Such a prophet was the Bab; we call him ‘prophet’ for want of a better name; ‘yea, | say. unto you, a prophet and more than a prophet.’ His combination of mildness and power is so rare that we have to place him in a line with super- normal men. But he was also a great mystic and an eminent theosophic speculator. We learn that, at great points in his career, after he had been in an ecstasy, such radiance of might and majesty streamed from his countenance that none could

1 INE as a:

THE JEWELS OF THE FAITHS 9

bear to look upon the effulgence of his glory and beauty. Nor was it an uncommon occurrence for unbelievers involuntarily to bow down in lowly obeisance on beholding His Holiness; while the inmates of the castle, though for the most part Christians and Sunnis, reverently prostrated them- selves whenever they saw the visage of His Holiness.’ Such transfiguration is well known to the saints. It was regarded as the affixing of the heavenly seal to the reality and completeness of Bab’s detachment. And from the Master we learn? that it passed to his disciples in proportion to the degree of their renunciation. But these experiences were surely characteristic, not only of Babism, but of Sufism. Ecstatic joy is the dominant note of Sufism, a joy which was of other-worldly origin, and compatible with the deepest tranquillity, and by which we are made like to the Ever-rejoicing One. The mystic poet Far‘idu’d-din writes thus,— Joy! joy! I triumph now; no more I know Myself as simply me. I burn with love.

The centre is within me, and its wonder Lies as a circle everywhere about me.®

And of another celebrated Sufi Sheykh (Ibnu'l Far‘id) his son writes as follows: ‘When moved to ecstasy by listening [to devotional recitations and chants] his face would increase in beauty and

DINE pp Zan, 242: 2 Mirza Jani (VH, p. 242). 8 Hughes, Déct. of slam, p. 618 0.

1o RECONCILIATION OF RACES AND RELIGIONS

radiance, while the perspiration dripped from all his body until it ran under his feet into the ground.’?

EFFECT OF SUFISM

Sufism, however, which in the outset was a spiritual pantheism, combined with quietism, de- veloped in a way that was by no means s0 satis- factory. The saintly mystic poet Abu Sa‘id had defined it thus: ‘To lay aside what thou hast in thy head (desires and ambitions), and to give away what thou hast in thy hand, and not to flinch from whatever befalls thee.’2 This is, of course, not intended as a complete description, but shows that the spirit of the earlier Sufism was profoundly ethical. Count Gobineau, how- ever, assures us that the Sufism which he knew was both enervating and immoral. Certainly the later Sufi poets were inclined to overpress sym- bolism, and the luscious sweetness of the poetry may have been unwholesome for some—both for poets and for readers, Still I question whether, for properly trained readers, this evil result should follow. The doctrine of the impermanence of all that is not God and that love between two human hearts is but a type of the love between God and His human creatures, and that the supreme happiness is that of identification with

1 Browne, Literary Listory of Persia, ii. 503. 2 bid. ii. 208.

THE JEWELS OF THE FAITHS II

God, has never been more alluringly expressed than by the Sufi poets.

The Sufis, then, are true forerunners of the Bab and his successors. There are also two men, Muslims but no Sufis, who have a claim to the same title. But I must first of all do honour to an Indian Sufi.

InayaT KHAN

The message of this noble company has been lately brought to the West.’ The bearer, who is in the fulness of youthful strength, is Inayat Khan, a member of the Sufi Order, a practised speaker, and also devoted to the traditional sacred music of India. His own teacher on his death- bed gave him this affecting charge: ‘Goest thou abroad into the world, harmonize the East and the West with thy music; spread the know- ledge of Sufism, for thou art gifted by Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.’ So, then, Vivekananda, Abdul Baha, and Inayat Khan, not to mention here several Buddhist monks, are all missionaries of Eastern religious culture to Western, and two of these specially represent Persia. We cannot do otherwise than thank God for the concordant voice of Bahaite and Sufite. Both announce the Evangel of the essen- tial oneness of humanity which will one day—and sooner than non-religious politicians expect—be

1 Message Soufi de la Liberté Spirituelle (Paris, 1913).

12 RECONCILIATION OF RACES AND RELIGIONS

translated into fact, and, as the first step towards this ‘desire of all nations, they embrace every opportunity of teaching the essential unity of religions :

Pagodas, just as mosques, are homes of prayer,

Tis prayer that church-bells chime unto the air ;

Yea, Church and Ka’ba, Rosary and Cross, Are all but divers tongues of world-wide prayer.?

So writes a poet (Omar Khayy4m) whom Inayat Khan claims as a Sufi, and who at any rate seems to have had Sufi intervals. Unmixed spiritual prayer may indeed be uncommon, but we may hope that prayer with no spiritual elements at all is still more rare. It is the object of prophets to awaken the consciousness of the people to its spiritual needs. Of this class of men Inayat Khan speaks thus,—

‘The prophetic mission was to bring into the world the Divine Wisdom, to apportion it to the world according to that world’s comprehension, to adapt it to its degree of mental evolution as well as to dissimilar countries and periods. It is by this adaptability that the many religions which have emanated from the same moral principle differ the one from the other, and it is by this that they exist. In fact, each prophet had for his mission to prepare the world for the teaching of the prophet who was to succeed him, and each of

1 ‘Whinfield’s translation of the quatrains of Omar Khayydm, No. 22 (34).

THE JEWELS OF THE FAITHS 13

them foretold the coming of his successor down to Mahomet, the last messenger of the divine Wisdom, and as it were the look-out point in which all the prophetic cycle was centred. For Mahomet resumed the divine Wisdom in this proclamation, ‘‘ Nothing exists, God alone is,” —the final message whither the whole line of the prophets tended, and where the boundaries of religions and philosophies took their start. With this message prophetic interventions are henceforth useless.

‘The Sufi has no prejudice against any prophet, and, contrary to those who only love one to hate the other, the Sufi regards them all as the highest attribute of God, as Wisdom herself, present under the appearance of names and forms. He loves them with all his worship, for the lover worships the Beloved in all Her garments... . It is thus that the Sufis contemplate their Well- beloved, Divine Wisdom, in all her robes, in her different ages, and under all the names that she bears,—Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Mahomet.’ :

The idea of the equality of the members of the world-wide prophethood, the whole body of prophets being the unique personality of Divine Wisdom, is, in my judgment, far superior to the corresponding theory of the exclusive Muham- madan orthodoxy. That theory is that each prophet represents an advance on his predecessor,

1 Message Soufi de la Liberté (Paris, 1913), PP- 34, 35-

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whom he therefore supersedes. Now, that Mu- hammad as a prophet was well adapted to the Arabians, I should be most unwilling to deny. I am also heartily of opinion that a Christian may well strengthen his own faith by the example of the fervour of many of the Muslims. But to say that the Kur’an is superior to either the Old Testament or the New is, surely, an error, only excusable on the ground of ignorance. It is true, neither of Judaism nor of Christianity were the representatives in Muhammad’s time such as we should have desired; ignorance on Muhammad’s part was unavoidable. But unavoidable also was the anti-Islamic reaction, as represented especially by the Order of the Sufis. One may hope that both action and reaction may one day become unnecessary. Zka¢ will depend largely on the Bahais.

It is time, however, to pass on to those pre- cursors of Babism who were neither Sufites nor Zoroastrians, but who none the less continued the line of the national religious development. The majority of Persians were Shi‘ites; they regarded Ali and the ‘Imams’ as virtually divine manifesta- tions. This at least was their point of union; otherwise they fell into two great divisions, known as the ‘Sect of the Seven’ and the ‘Sect of the Twelve’ respectively. Mirza Ali Muham- mad belonged by birth to the latter, which now forms the State-religion of Persia, but there are

THE JEWELS OF THE FAITHS 15

several points in his doctrine which he held in common with the former (z.e. the Ishmailis). These are—‘the successive incarnations of the Universal Reason, the allegorical interpretation of Scripture, and the symbolism of every ritual form and every natural phenomenon.’ The doctrine of the impermanence of all that is not God, and that love between two human hearts is but a type of the love between God and his human creatures, and the bliss of self-annihilation, had long been inculcated in the most winning manner by the Sufis.

SHEYKH AHMAD

Yet they were no Sufis, but precursors of Babism in a more thorough and special sense, and both were Muslims. The first was Sheykh Ahmad of Ahsa, in the province of Bahrein. He knew full well that he was chosen of God to prepare men’s hearts for the reception of the more complete truth shortly to be revealed, and that through him the way of access to the hidden twelfth Imam Mahdi was reopened. But he did not set this forth in clear and unmistakable terms, lest ‘the unregenerate’ should turn again and rend him. According toa Shi‘ite authority he paid two visits to Persia, in one of which he was in high favour with the Court, and received as a yearly subsidy from the Shah’s son the sum of 700

1 WH, introd. p. xiii.

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tumans, and in the other, owing chiefly to a mali- cious colleague, his theological doctrines brought him into much disrepute. Yet he lived as a pious Muslim, and died in the odour of sanctity, as a pilgrim to Mecca.’

One of his opponents (Mulla ‘Ali) said of him that he was ‘an ignorant man with a pure heart.’ Well, ignorant we dare not call him, except with a big qualification, for his aim required great knowledge; it was nothing less than the reconcilia- tion of all truth, both metaphysical and scientific. Now he had certainly taken much trouble about truth, and had written many books on philosophy and the sciences as understood in Islamic countries. We can only qualify our eulogy by admitting that he was unaware of the limitations of human nature, and of the weakness of Persian science. Pure in heart, however, he was; no qualification is needed here, except it be one which Mulla ‘Ali would not have regarded as requiring any excuse. For purity he (like many others) understood in a large sense. It was the reward of courageous ‘buffeting’ and enslaving of the body; he was an austere ascetic.

He had a special devotion to Ja‘far-i-Sadik,? the sixth Imam, whose guidance he believed himself to enjoy in dreams, and whose words he delighted to quote. Of course, ‘Ali was the

1 See AMB (Nicolas), pp. 264-272; VA, pp. 235, 236. CHIMP ass eXo fri

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director of the council of the Imams, but the councillors were not much less, and were equally faithful as mirrors of the Supreme. This remains true, even if ‘Ali be regarded as himself the Supreme God? identical with Allah or with the Ormazd (Ahura- Mazda) of the Zoroastrians. For the twelve Imams were all of the rank of divinities. Not that they were ‘partners’ with God; they were simply manifestations of the Invisible God. But they were utterly veracious Manifestations ; in speaking of Allah (as the Sheykh taught) we may venture to intend ‘Ali.?

This explains how the Sheykh can have taught that the Imams took part in creation and are agents in the government of the world. In support of this he quoted Kur’an, Sur. xxiii. 14, ‘God the best of Creators,’ and, had he been a broader and more scientific theologian, might have mentioned how the Amshaspands (Amesha- spentas) are grouped with Ormazd in the creation- story of Zoroastrianism, and how, in that of Gen. i., the Director of the Heavenly Council says, Let us make man.’®

The Sheykh also believed strongly in the

1 The Sheykh certainly tended in the direction of the sect of the ‘Ali-Ilahis (VZ, p. 142; Kremer, Herrschende Ideen des Islams, p. 31), who belonged to the gfu/at or extreme Shi‘ites (Browne, Lit. Hist. of Persia, p. 310).

2 The Sheykh held that in reciting the opening swra of the Kur’an the worshipper should think of “Ali, should intend ‘Ali, as his God. 3 Genesis i. 22.

2

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existence of a subtle body which survives the dissolution of the palpable, material body,’ and will alone be visible at the Resurrection. Nothing almost gave more offence than this; it seemed to be only a few degrees better than the absolute denial of the resurrection-body ventured upon by the Akhbaris.?- And yet the notion of a subtle, internal body, a notion which is Indian as well as Persian, has been felt even by many Westerns to be for them the only way to reconcile reason and faith.

Sevyip Kazim—IsLam—ParsiisM—BuDDHISM

On Ahmad’s death the unanimous choice of the members of the school fell on Seyyid (Sayyid) Kazim of Resht, who had been already nominated by the Sheykh. He pursued the same course as his predecessor, and attracted many inquirers and disciples. Among the latter was the lady Kurratu’l ‘Ayn, born in a town where the Sheykhi sect was