It may be asked whether the biblical account of the ascension of Enoch, Elijah, our Lord, and the "catching 1 up to the third heaven" of the person whom some have supposed to be St. Paul, have not been the original sources of all the fables which we have met with 1. It is somewhat difficult and quite unnecessary to suppose this with reference to the Persian and Indian tales to which we have referred, though it may be true of the others.

1 2 Cor. xii. 2-4.
2 A Muhammadan might add, "If we reject the account of Muhammad's ascension, how can we accept those of Enoch, Elijah, and Christ?" The answer is not far to seek. The historical evidence for Christ's ascension is unquestionable, and we accept the other accounts upon His authority. Moreover, to urge that there can be no genuine coins because there are known to be some spurious ones in circulation is not very logical. There would be no spurious ones if there had not been genuine coins, upon the model of which the latter have been made. Hence the very existence of so many legends of ascensions should lead us a priori to infer that these must be based upon some one or more true accounts of such occurrences. Moreover, as the true coin may be known from the false by it's ring, so a comparison between the biblical narratives (Gen. v. 24; 2 Kings ii. 11, 12 ; Acts i. 9-11) and those others which we have been dealing with will suffice to show what an immense difference exists between them. For instance, St. Paul tells us of some one who (whether in the body or not he did not know) was "caught up to the third heaven, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter." But the apocryphal "Visio Pauli" states that Paul was the person referred to, and puts in his mouth a long account of what he saw and heard there. The difference is much the same as that which existed between the testimony of a sober historian and the wonderful tales contained in the Arabian Nights.

But if it be so, we find that the Muslim legend of Muhammad's ascent, like so many other legends 1 about Muhammad, has been invented, on the model of other accounts like that contained in the Arta Viraf Namak, with the object of making it appear that he was in certain respects similar, though superior, to Christ and the other prophets who preceded him.

2. The Muhammadan Paradise with its Huris.

With these we may couple the Ghilman, the Jinns, the Angel of Death; and the Dharratu'l Kainat.

As examples of the descriptions which the Qur'an gives of Paradise, we may quote the following passages 2:—

Surah LV., Ar Rahman, 46 sqq.: "And for him who feareth the tribunal of his Lord there are two gardens, dowered with branches. In each of them two fountains flow. In each of them there are of every fruit two kinds. They recline upon couches of which the inner lining is of brocade; and the fruit of the two gardens hangs low. In them are [maidens] restraining their glances, whom neither man nor demon hath approached before them. They are as it were rubies and pearls. Is the recompense for kindness other than kindness?

1 Dr Koelle, Mohammed and Mohammedanism, pp. 246 sqq.
2 Similar passages may be found in Surahs II., IV., XIII., XXXVI., XXXVII., XLVII., LXXXIII., &c.