we learn from Surah XXXIII., Al Ahzab, 49, since he was granted as a special privilege the right to marry as many as he pleased. The words of the restricting rule are: "And if ye fear that ye will not act justly towards orphans, then marry of wives what seemeth good to you, by twos or threes or fours." This has ever since been explained by commentators as forbidding Muslims to have more than four legal wives at a time, though they enjoy almost unlimited freedom in the matter of divorcing any or all of them, and marrying others to make up the permitted number.

When we inquire the source from which Muhammad borrowed this rule, and why he chose four as the highest permissible number of legal wives for a Muhammadan to have at one time, we again find the answer in Jewish regulations on the subject, one of which runs thus: "A man may marry many wives, for Rabba saith it is lawful to do so, if he can provide for them. Nevertheless the wise men have given good advice, that a man should not marry more than four wives 1."

In reply to the argument contained in this chapter and in those which follow, the Muhammadans have but one answer, besides the mere assertion that the Qur'an is not Muhammad's

1 Arbah Turim, Ev. Hazaer, 1. For this reference I am indebted to a note, p. 451, in Rodwell's Koran, where it is added "See also Yad Hachazakah Hilchoth Ishuth, 14, 3."

composition but that of God Himself. They tell us that Muhammad was ignorant of both reading and writing, and that hence he could not possibly have studied the Hebrew, Aramaic, and other books from which we have shown that he really drew, directly or indirectly, much of what now appears in the Qur'an. "An unlettered man," they say could not possibly have consulted such a mass of literature, much of it in languages which he did not know, and which are known to but a few students at the present time."

This argument rests on two assumptions: first that Muhammad could neither read nor write; and second, that only by reading could he learn the traditions and fables accepted by Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians and others in his time. Both of these are destitute of proof. An attempt is made to substantiate the former by referring to Surah VII., Al A'raf, 156, where Muhammad is called An nabiyyu'l Ummi, which words the Muslims render "The Unlettered Prophet." Rabbi Abraham Geiger, however, has clearly shown that the word rendered unlettered in this verse really means "Gentile," as opposed to Jewish. This is confirmed by the fact that in Surah III., Al 'Imran, 19, the prophet is commanded to speak "to the Ummiin and to the people of the Book," in which verse we see that the Arabs in general are thus designated "Gentiles." Moreover, in Surah XXIX., Al 'Ankabut, 27, and in Surah XLV., Al Jathiyyah, 15, it is clearly stated