prayer is optional, thus having exactly the same number as the Sabians had. Bowing down (raku) and prostration (sujud) are enjoined in Muhammadan worship, but not during the prayers offered at burials. Finally we have seen that the Muslims still most highly honour the Ka'bah. Of course it is possible that all these practices were common to the Quraish tribe as well as to the Sabians. Some of them certainly were; but, if all had been, it would be difficult to account for the observations made by the Arabic writer whom we have quoted. The supposition that many of these religious customs were borrowed by Muhammad from the Sabians, and that their religion in general (owing perhaps in a measure to its supposed antiquity) had great influence on Islam at its foundation is confirmed by the fact that, when the Banu Jadhimah of Taif and Mecca announced to Khalid their conversion to Muhammadanism, they did so by crying out, "We have become Sabians."

The Sabians are supposed to have been a semi-Christian sect. Others have identified them with the Mandaeans, whose religion represents a strange medley of Gnosticism and ancient Babylonian heathenism, but has nevertheless borrowed certain elements from Magism, Judaism, and Christianity, though largely anti-Christian as a system. The Mandaeans derive their name from Manda, the most important of the Emanations or Aeons in whom they believe. He is said in their sacred


book, the Sidra Rabba, to have manifested himself in a series of incarnations, the first three of which were Abel, Seth, and Enoch, and the last John the Baptist. The latter conferred baptism on Jesus Messiah, who finally returned to the Kingdom of Light after a seeming crucifixion. This latter idea is repeated in the Qur'an (Surah IV., An Nisa, 159) and will require notice later 1.

Our very limited knowledge of the Sabians and the doubt whether the Mandaeans can be identified with them renders it impossible to say whether their influence on Islam has or has not been still more important and extensive 2.

We now turn to the Jews from whom Muhammad borrowed so very much that his religion might almost be described as a heretical form of

1 Vide pp. 182 sqq.
2 The Ebionites, too, seem to have had an influence on the religion of Islam when gradually taking shape in Muhammad's mind, which seems at the time to have been singularly receptive and credulous. "Epiphanius (Haer. x) describes the notions of the Ebionites of Nabathaea, Moabitis, and Basanitis with regard to Adam and Jesus, almost in the very words of Surah III., 52. He tells us that they observed circumcision, were opposed to celibacy, forbade turning to the sunrise but enjoined Jerusalem as their Qiblah (as did Muhammad during twelve years), that they prescribed (as did the Sabians) washings, very similar to those enjoined in the Qur'an, and allowed oaths (by certain natural objects, as clouds, signs of the Zodiac, oil, the winds, &c.) which also we find adopted therein. These points of contact with Islam, knowing as we do Muhammad's eclecticism, can hardly be accidental" (Rodwell, Koran, Pref., p. xviii).