« PoprzedniaDalej »
received seven dresses of honor, and seven female slaves were conferred upon him, representing the • baft ukleem,' or seven climates, a term which in Asiatic phraseology, or imaginative geography, signifies the known world, over which the commander of the faithful was commissioned to hold dominion; and he was expressly charged with, and stimulated to, the conquest of the Christian powers of Europe. The descendants of Togbrul were subsequently in prophetic language, bound in the Euphrates ; and the Princes of this dynasty represent, with their hosts, the four angels, who were “ prepared, for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of man.”
From the period of the last Khaleefas, their power became hereditary in the family of Toghrul, and has been handed down through an uninterrupted and unprecedented succession of human glory to the present imbecile occupant of a tottering throne ; this power may be deputed, but cannot be usurped. .
Previous to the European conquests of the Turks, the fame of bigotry and Moslem enthusiasm raged with irresistible fury and overwhelming desolation. Empires were overthrown; dominions crushed; and the sword and Koran made the rule of social order throughout a great part of Asia, and several European kingdoms were also subjugated to Mahomedan sway; but from the period of the conquest of Constantinople by Mahmood ul Saney, (i.e. Mahmood the second,) the high-strained principle of general intolerance that sustained and extended their faith has gradually declined, and the late innovations in jurisprudence, and the military system of the Turks prove the official indifference of the commander of the faithful to the alleged sanctity of his national institutions. With the Turks, to reform is to destroy, because the Koran, which is the base of all their laws, leaves no optional and discretionary power in the executive ; neither is there any admission of a renovating process to repair the decay and oblivion of institutions stationary in the progressive march of mind ; * the prescriptions of the Koran are absolute, and should be administered now as they were in ages past, when the star of the prophet intensely glared upon the false professors of an apostate church, of a transgressing and idolatrous race. A public firman of the commander of the faithful has virtually displaced the authority of the Koran, and all religions are now, by the command of the Mahomedan Khaleefa, or high priest, equal before the laws.
The population of the Moslem world is rapidly decreasing. The causes which produce this decay are evident to those acquainted with the laws, the manners and the customs of the people. The tyrannical and oppressive system of fiscal policy, wbich deprives the peasant of all extraneous wealth, accruing from the utmost stretch of labour, and leaves merely the miserable portion of necessary rations for animal subsistence, is widely destructive of human life. The effect of polygamy in depopulating a community is a gradual and hereditary evil, which when accompanied by general mendicity, ultimately oper
* Thus Spain and other Roman Catholic countries, owing to their assumption of infallibility in religion, are still stationary in civiliza. tion, compared with the march of intellect evinced by the other kingdoms of Europe. Even France is oppressed with the Roman Catholic doctrine, which prevents the advance of civilization among nations, no less than Mahomedanism.
ates with certain and baleful influence; the discontent, divisions, and hereditary enmities existing in all Mahomedan families,—where the offspring of several mothers have been matured,--leads to destructive feuds, that greatly militate against the fruitful increase of the community. The administration of justice embodies an oppressive system of persecution, that produces mendicity, and want, and consequent waste of life ; for bread is the staff thereof. Other causes still more rife in the havoc of the human race, but which the general nature of these remarks does not elicit, tend inevitably and incontestibly, to unpeople the Mahomedan world. The plague appually extends its devastating hand over a blasted race, and the charnel battle-field of Moslem bigotry, has been a dreadful scourge to the masses of the Turkish empire. There is no doubt that the rapid decrease of population, the rebellion of tributary provinces, and civil war, will shortly leave the Ottoman empire without efficient resources ; and the government which borrows money at an interest of nine per cent, as the Turks are doing, to pay the dividends of antecedent loans, has anticipated its means, and must finally and speedily be paralysed by the failure of nutrition. The chief revenue of Oriental nations, is derived from agricultural labour ; and agriculture can only be fully elaborated by irrigation. The apocalyptic symbol of Mahomedan empire, is represented by the great river Euphrates;' and it is probable the drying up of the great river Euphrates, which all interpreters of prophecy agree, means the Moslem power, points to the present fiscal perplexity of the Turkish government, in consequence of a deficient agrarian revenue, occasioned in
a great degree by the gradual decrease of the popalation, which is disappearing, man by man, like the drying up of a stream silently, and drop by drop exhaled : it is a fitting and appropriate symbol of approaching ruin. These are the main causes of decay perceptible in the Turkish power, and must determine its final dissolution, probably within a very short period.
Traditions are current amongst the Mabomedan nations of the East, (which are probably derived from our sacred books,) distinctly alluding to the characteristics of the Western race as the conquerors of the world. They believe in the Advent of Christ, previous to which, they are instructed to look for the appearance of the last of the Immaums. This person, they say, is now, and has been for ages in existence; but owing to obstacles interposed by the immaturity of time, the desirable event is deferred to a future period.
The appearance of Immaum Meihdee, as the personage is designated, must be preceded by several signs ;-an infidel of monstrous form and dimensions, a frightful being of immense stature, with one eye, known by the name of Dijaul, is to devastate the earth, and destroy the faithful in great numbers. All Mahomedan communities are to become subject to Christian sway. The city of Bulkh (the ancient Bactra) is to be rebuilt and flourish as the capital of Central Asia. There are also many others. When Islam shall become almost extinct, and in point of proportion to its former prevalence, resemble the size of a white spot on the forehead of a red cow, and Dijaul shall sorely distress the faithful, the Immaam will appear, fight with the infidel, and be nearly overcome in the contest; but the prospect of defeat will be speedily changed to the certainty of glorious victory, by the Advent of Christ, who must descend upon the roof of the temple of Mecca. He assists the Immaum, restores the fortune of battle, slays Dijaul, and converts all the world to Islam, j.e. the religion of peace. Thus we have Christ again bringing into the world peace and good-will to man. The Mahomedans say, Christ will convert the world to their faith, but the book of traditions uses the term Islam, which though it also signifies Mahomedanism, in a more extended application and literal sense means the religion of peace, and of this persuasion, say they, were the Patriarchs and all the prophets : upon this point Moslem and Christian may agree. The first part of this tradition is near being accomplished. I have heard the Prince of Cabul remark, (in 1837,) “all the Mahomedan world is at this moment subject to Christian sway, except Cabul and Bocharah; when we are conquered, the Immaum must appear. A year after this, Cabul was subdued by the English, and the Prince a refugee in the states of Bocharah. .
The principalities of the Uzbec States are now the only Mahomedan powers pot subject to Christian Policy; but, as Russia bas offensive and defensive treaties with these Uzbecs of Tartary, and they are commercially and geographically connected with each other, a pretext will probably not long be wanting to enable Russia to plant the seeds of her policy there, as she has done in Persia, and all the other Mahomedan communities of Central Asia. The people of Cabul consoled themselves upon the subjugation of their country, with the remark, that the ad