be not extravagant in your religion, and do not say concerning God other than the truth. Truly the Messiah, Jesus, Son of Mary, is the Apostle of God and His Word which He cast into Mary, and a Spirit from Him. Therefore believe ye in God and His apostle, and say not ‘Three.’ Cease! it is well for you! Truly God is One God. Far be it from Him that He should have a Son. To Him belongs whatever is in the Heavens and whatever is it, the Earth: and it sufficeth with God as a guardian."

Surah V., Al Maidah, 77: "They have indeed blasphemed who have said, ‘Verily God is the Third of Three’; and there is no God but one God; and if they cease not from what they say, there shall surely touch those of them who have blasphemed a severe punishment."

These verses are explained by the commentators Jalalu'ddin and Yahya' as being the answer to the statement which Muhammad heard certain Christians make that there are three Gods, that is to say God the Father, Mary, and Jesus. It is perfectly plain from these verses that Muhammad really did believe that the Christian doctrine inculcated belief in three separate Divine Persons, Jesus and Mary being two of them. But our third quotation implies that Muhammad — probably from what he had seen of "Christian" worship — thought that the order was Jesus, Mary, God, or Mary, Jesus, God. No reasonable man will wonder at the indignation


with which Muhammad in God's name abjures such blasphemy. We must all feel regret that the idolatrous worship offered to Mary led Muhammad to believe that people who called her "Queen of Heaven" and "Mother of God" really attributed to her Divine attributes. He rightly perceived that God was practically dethroned in her favour. Had he been taught that the doctrine of the Unity of God is the very foundation of the Christian faith (Deut. vi. 4; Mark xii. 29), he might have become a Christian reformer. He can never have heard the true explanation of the Doctrine of the Trinity in Unity, otherwise he would have learnt that Christian theologians spoke of the Father not as "the Third of Three" but as the Πηγη 1 της Θεότητος the very "Fount of Deity."

It should be noticed, however, that, though the undue exaltation of the Virgin Mary, which led Muhammad astray as to the true doctrine of the Bible, is contrary to the Christian faith, yet such false ideas and practices are distinctly encouraged by the teaching of many of the later apocryphal Gospels, particularly by those which formed the ultimate sources of Muhammad's knowledge of Christianity. We mention this to prevent the possibility of any Muhammadan reader supposing that he can find a way out of his difficulty by endeavouring to prove that such books as "The

1 Cf. Athanasius, Contra Arianos, iv. 1, Λεχθείη δ αν και ουτω "μία αρχη θεότητος," και ου δύο αρχαί.