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 1— 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 2 quoted (Surah 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."

1 Vendidad, I., 1, 2, &c.
2 pp. 206, 207.

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 1 eye was sleeping and my heart was awake." The celebrated mystical commentator Muhiyyu'd Din accepted the whole account only in a metaphorical sense 2. As, however, we are not con-

1 Siratu'r Rasul, p. 139.
2 For the benefit of the curious in such matters we subjoin his account, given in his comment on the verse above quoted:—
   "سبحان الذى أسرى أى أنزهه عن اللواحق المادية والنقائص التشبيهية بلسان حال التجرد والكمال فى مقام العبودية الذى لا تصرف فيه أصلاً ليلاً أى فى ظلمة الغواشى البدنية والتعلقات الطبيعية لأن العروج والترقى لا يكون إلا بواسطة البدن من المسجد الحرام أى من مقام القلب المحرمّ عن أن يطوف به مشرك القوى البدنية ويرتكب فيه فواحشها وخطاياها ويحجه غوىّ القوى الحيوانية من البهيمية والسبعية المنكشفة سواتاً أفراطها وتفريطها لعروها عن لباس الفضيلة