In consequence of this, Badzan, the Persian governor of Yaman, deprived of the hope of support from home, was obliged to submit to Muhammad and agree to pay tribute (A.D. 628). Within a few years of the Prophet's death the armies of Islam had overrun Persia and converted the great mass of its people by the sword.

Whenever two nations, the one highly advanced in civilization and the other in a state of comparative ignorance, are brought into close intercourse with one another, the former always exercises a very considerable influence over the other. All history teaches us this lesson. Now in Muhammad's time the Arabs were in a very unenlightened condition; in fact their own writers speak of pre-Islamic ages as "The Times of Ignorance." The Persians, on the other hand, as we learn from the Avesta, from the cuneiform inscriptions of Darius and Xerxes, from the still existing ruins of Persepolis, and from the evidence of Greek writers, had from at least very early times been highly civilized. It was but natural therefore that intercourse with them should leave its impress upon the Arabs. From Arabian historians and from the statements of the Qur'an and its commentators it is evident that the romantic legends and the poetry of the Persians had in Muhammad's time obtained a very considerable degree of popularity among the Arabs. So widely were some of these tales known among the


Quraish that Muhammad was accused by his enemies of having borrowed or imitated them in the Qur'an. Ibn Hisham, for instance, says that one day when Muhammad "had gathered an assembly, then he summoned them to God Most High and read the Qur'an there, and warned them what would befall the nations that remained destitute of faith. Then Nadr bin Al Harith, who had followed him into his assembly, rose up and told them about Rustam the strong and about Isfandiyar and the kings of Persia. Then He said, ‘By God! Muhammad is not a better story-teller than I am, and his discourse is nothing but the Tales of the Ancients. He has composed them just as I have composed them.’ On his account therefore did God send down the verse: ‘And 1 they have said, Tales of the Ancients hath he written down, and they are recited to him morning and evening. Say thou, He who knoweth what is secret in the heavens and the earth hath sent it down: verily He is forgiving, merciful.’ And on his account this also came down: ‘When 2 our verses are recited to him, he hath said, Tales of the Ancients!’ And this also descended for his benefit: ‘Woe 3 unto every sinful liar that heareth God's verses read to him; then he persisteth in being proud, as if he did not hear them! There-

1 Surah XXV., Al Furqan, 6, 7.
2 Surah LXVIII., 15.
3 Surah XLV., 6, 7.