< The Koran (continued from page 1-158) >
his alleged revelations were found scattered in fragments here and there; some in the hands of Hafsa, others remained only in the memory of his believers. Mahomet not only omitted to compile these written fragments, but with the exception of a few he never encouraged their general circulation."
At one time, when a number of the mnemonical reciters had been slain in battle, it is said that “Zaid collected all the pseudo revelations that could be, found written upon parchment, leather, palm leaves, shoulder blades of mutton, stones, and other materials, and collated these with the Saras.” It certainly then cannot be considered strange if little consistency or harmony characterizes the order of the Book of the Mahomedans.
“That Mahomet employed secretaries to write some of his visions is not called in question,” says ‘a note’ to the above paragraph. Another ‘note’ says, “Different editions of the same Suras were in existence during Mahomet's life.”
So great, indeed, had become the discord in the Koran, that Kaliph Othman ordered Zaid to revise it, and to send copies of the same work to the chief cities of the empire with a command to burn all others. This Kaliph Othman was the third successor of Mahomet. “He gave indefatigable attention,” says the Journal Asiatique de Paris, “to re-write in a single work the dispersed and incoherent parts of the Alcoran.”
After all, seven different editions were soon met with. Two editions, says Reland, originafed in Medina, a third in Mecca, a fourth at Kufa, a fifth at Bussura, a sixth in Syria, the last was the “editio vulgaris.” The first of the two in Medina counts 6000 verses; others as many as 6236. This will explain the difference which frequently occurs in the quotation of verses. All are said to contain an equal number of words, some say 99,464, others 77639; and 323,915 letters.
A prominent argument put forth by Mr. Arnold against the Mohammedan creed is found in the contradictions (and abrogations) to be met with in the Koran. It is said that there are no less than 225 passages containing laws and dogmas which have been abrogated by subsequent Suras. If contradictions were all that made the Koran objectionable, our Book could be set aside upon the same grounds.
Ali Halibi writes in his history of the Prophet (?): “Eben Ishak relates what he has heard from his masters, viz., that Mohammed was subjected to the treatment of an exorcist when in Mecca, before the Koran was revealed to him." This is important, for he may thus have been especially developed as a medium through magnetic influence, as many are said to be now by this means.
A ‘note’ to the above says: “The word applied signifies, Treated or cured by an exorcist’ . . . And the Moslem saw nothing in that attack but the effect of Mohammed's breast being opened by the angel? What does this mean if not the visions that were accorded to him (Mohammed) in the earliest stages of his seership?
In the vast amount of interesting matter that has been written about the illustrious author of the Koran, I will make only one more suggestion, which Is, that Mohammed never claimed to be a prophet. The Arabic word rsoul means strictly, I think, an envoy, a messenger. Mohammed frequently declared himself to be only a messenger of God, a preacher of God's truths as revealed to him, but did not of himself pretend to predict events. Weil, in his “Mohammedan Prophet,” gives some important facts found in the “insan Aluyun,” where Ali Halibi quotes Ujun Alather; “Mohammed said to the exorcist ‘Thou professest to deliver man from demons. Only God we may entreat for help. . . . Confess that there is one God, who has chosen me to be his apostle.” The italics are mine. It is possible and probable that if many sayings in the Koran should be set down as emanating from Mohammed alone, his prophetic character would be established; but if dictated by spirits (which may have been evil, and hence misleading and tending to mischief and contradiction) then he was simply, as he claimed, (many passages in the Koran to the contrary, notwithstanding,) “an apostle,” a messenger. But as we have seen, one cannot be certain in regard to what actually emanated from Mohammed himself. His disciples, doubtless, exalted his character as much as possible, and many contradictions have probably arisen, and much fable been imputed to the “master” by them in their zeal to do him honor.
Cabalism. The Sepher Jetzera or Book of Creation
From this work we obtain the principle, of the Cabalistic science as explained, by the great masters. The age of this book cannot be definitely determined. Dr. Zurnz assigns it to the latter half of the Gnostic period, the latter part of the eighth century or beginning of the ninth. In the Talmud there is a distinct mention of the Sepher Jetzera which was extant in the early Mishna times. Another indisputable fact is that it was the subject of able commentators as far back as the tenth century; such as Shabthai ben Abraham, Jacob ben Nissim and Saadja Saon. Shabthai not only affirms it to be an old book, but gives it as his opinion that it is the oldest book of human literature. This is unquestionably an exaggeration. The language and style, however, show that it belongs to a period anterior to the first Mishnaists, which is about a century before the birth of Christ. The work is regarded by some writers as a collection of fragments of much earlier times, and by them recognized a. a resume of ancient occult subjects. If a comparison of the printed editions be made, we find strong evidences of interpolation by transcribers and commentators, which makes it difficult for an occult student to select the most reliable edition. The writer has been so fortunate as to obtain three editions. A Latin translation, with notes and the Hebrew text, published by Kittangel, (Amsterdam 1662). Also one published with a German translation and note, by John Friedrich V. Meyer, (Leipzig 1830) and an edition bearing no date nor name of author. The two former we would recommend to students interested ted in the Cabala.
The generally received opinion is, that this famous mystic work is a monologue of the patriarch Abraham, and the contemplations which it contains are those which induced the Father of the Hebrews to abandon the worship of the stars and to embrace the faith of the true God. Hence the remarks of the celebrated philosopher, Rabbi Juhudah Ha Levi, (born about 1086): “The Book of the Creation, which beongs to our Father Abraham, demonstrates the existence of the Deity and the Divine unity, by things which are, on the one hand, manifold and multifarious, whilst on the other hand they converge and harmonize; and this harmony can only proceed from One who originates it.”
The design of the work is to exhibit a system whereby the universe may be viewed methodically in connection with the truths found in the Bible, thus showing that, by a gradual and systematic development of creation, and the harmony which it exhibits in its various component parts, that one God produces all and that He is over all. The order by which God created the universe out of nothing, and the harmony which pervades it, is shown by the analogy which subsists between the visible things and the signs of thought.
The work is divided into six chapters or Perakim, which are sub-divided into thirty three brief sections or Mishnas, as follows: the first chapter has twelve sections, the second has five, the third five, the fourth four, the fifth three, and the sixth four sections. The doctrines which it propounds are delivered in the form of aphorisms, and are dogmatically laid down by Abraham with an authority becoming this patriarch. The letters that are used serve as a medium between essence and form, and like words, assume the relation of form to the real essence. Great value is attached to these letters and to their combinations. They are used both in their phonitic and in their sacred character, as expressing the divine truths of nature. The Hebrew alphabet is alto used as numerals, which are represented by the fundamental number ten, and as the vowels are ten in number, this decade is added to the twenty-two letters, Thus the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet and the ten fundamental numbers united, form the thirty-two paths of secret wisdom. The work begins as follows: “By thirty-two paths of secret wisdom, the Eternal, the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, the living God, the King of the Universe, the Merciful and Gracious, the high and exalted God, He who inhabit, eternity, glorious and holy is his name, hath created by means of numbers, phonetic language and writing.” In other words, God has created the universe by means of numbers, weight and measure.
First we have the fundamental number ten. This decade is divided into a tetrade and hexade, and thereby is shown a gradual development of the world. At first there existed nothing but the divine substance with the creative idea and the articulated creative word as the Holy Spirit, which is owe with the Divine substance and invisible Hence the spirit of the living God stands at the head of all things, and is represented by the En Soph, the Crown, the Arich Ampin of the holy Cabala. It is also represented by the number one. “One in the Spirit of the living God, blessed be his name, who liveth forever! Voice, spirit and word, this is the Holy Ghost.
From this number one the whole universe proceeds by gradual and successive emanations in the following order. <... continues on page 1-162 >
- Cabalism. The Sepher Jetzera or Book of Creation by unknown author (signed as Zeus), Spiritual Scientist, v. 4, No. 17, June 29, 1876, pp. 193-5