The Power Of Islam -- By: George F. Herrick
BSac 32:126 (April 1875) p. 362
The Power Of Islam
It has often been asserted that the religion of Mohammed is losing power over its votaries; that, before the civilization and religion or infidelity of Western nations, Mohammedan power, both civil and religious, is giving way; and that the downfall of the whole system, especially in Turkey and in India, cannot be distant. The crescent is thought to be no longer a fit symbol for a waning faith; and there is the expectation, how general the writer does not presume to say, of the end of Islam, both as a temporal and a spiritual power, by some sudden movement near at hand, like the putting out of a candle or the crash of a falling wall.
Doubtless, the recent progress of the religion of the Arabian prophet among certain African tribes is a disturbing
BSac 32:126 (April 1875) p. 363
and contradictory fact; and the tenacity with which everywhere, and especially among Arabic-speaking Moslems, those who have professed the faith of Islam hold, at least formally and outwardly, to their ancient religion, is somewhat baffling to our enthusiastic hopes. So that, while we believe the decay of the system as a faith is a fact, and expect that the men of the next generation will see the end of all Mohammedan civil power, yet it is evident that elements of power still exist in Islam, which, without a miracle in the conduct of his providence, God cannot eliminate and suppress, except by the working of gradual forces and influences. And, while experience has shown us the very great difficulty of properly estimating those forces and influences, of truly and clearly conceiving and representing just what Islam is, and of rightly showing what are the elements of its power, we shall attempt to point out some of the pillars of its strength, which will at the same time make evident the hold it still has upon the Mohammedan mind.
I. One Element Of The Power Of Islam Is The One Great Truth On Which It Is Based
No great system of pure error has ever existed in the world. No such system could possibly exist. The revulsion of men from bald and unmixed falsehood is a fact of human consciousness and human history. Men have great mental capacity for receiving lies in the place of the truth, folly instead of wisdom; but they will neither be deceived nor humbugged, unless at least some grains of sense and truth are skilfully mingled with the potion they are invited to swallow. Confucius taught a high morality. Buddhism answers, in a way, the aspirations of men towards the supernatural. The system of the better Greek philosophers contained more of truth than of error. And Islam draws the very breath of its life — has ever nourished the sinews of its power — from a clear, stern, and polemic utteranc...
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