ELEMENTS IN THE QUR'AN
Persian tales are so indubitably of Aryan and not
of Semitic origin that they are found in slightly modified
forms in India also. In fact some of them were, so to
speak, part of the religious and intellectual heritage
of both nations; and when the Persians and the Hindus
separated from one another, and, leaving their ancient
common home — the Airyanem Vaejo —
near Herat, migrated to Persia and India respectively,
were carried away in the minds of both peoples. Others
of these ideas may very possibly have originated in
Persia somewhat later, and have spread to India in process
of time. We shall see that they had certainly reached
Muhammad's ears, and they have not been without influence
upon the Qur'an and the Traditions, which claim to have
been handed down by his devoted followers, relating
what they assert that they heard from his lips.
1. The Night Journey.
The first matter with which we shall here deal is
the celebrated account of Muhammad's Night Journey.
This is thus referred to in a verse which we have already
XVII., Al Asra' — also called Surah Banu Israil' — 1):—
"Praise be to Him who caused His servant to journey
by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farther Mosque,
whose enclosure We have blessed, that We might show
him of Our signs."
TRADITIONS OF ISLAM.
It is well known that commentators on the Qur'an
are by no means agreed with regard to this verse, some
thinking that Muhammad merely dreamt that he made the
journey mentioned in it, others taking it in a literal
sense and adding many details from Tradition, and others
again explaining it in a mystical or figurative sense.
Ibn Ishaq for example, informs us, giving his traditional
authority, that Muhammad's favourite wife 'Ayishah used
to say, "The body of the Apostle of God did not
disappear, but God took his spirit on the journey by
night." Another Tradition reports that Muhammad
himself said, "My
eye was sleeping and my heart was awake." The celebrated
mystical commentator Muhiyyu'd Din accepted the whole
account only in a metaphorical sense .
As, however, we are not con-