Islamism - Rev. Reuben Parsons, Studies in Church History
[I scanned this from my library. I have all the Parsons volumes minus one. The first volume (maybe all) can be download as PDF at Google Books, but the PDF is not high quality and OCR couldn't digest it well.]

by Rev. Reuben Parsons, Studies in Church History, Vol. I - 1886



Mohammed was born at Mecca in the year 570, of poor, but respectable parents. Losing them when yet a child, he was brought up by his uncle, a merchant, and with him made many journeys through Syria and other lands. When he was about 25 years old, he married a rich widow named Kadijah, in whose service he had formerly been; and being thus enabled to abandon mercantile pursuits, he turned his energies to the acquirement of power. He had picked up from a Nestorian monk, named Sergius, a limited knowledge of the Mosaic law and of Christian doctrine, and this served him as a basis for his new religion. For fifteen years he retired during the period of a month to a cavern of Mt. Hera, where he pretended to receive revelations from God, through the Angel Gabriel. When he thought that the Arabs were pretty well prepared to listen to him, his wife and Sergius having meanwhile prepared the way by their wonderful stories, he announced that he had been sent to revive the ancient religion of Abraham, of Ishmael, of Jesus, and the prophets. He commenced his propaganda in the year 612, and continued it until his death in 631, leaving already in the profession of the new faith nearly the whole of Arabia. His successors continued his missionary career in the style he had adopted, that is, by fire and sword on the one hand, and a pandering to human weakness on the other, until nearly all Asia and Africa acknowledged the truth of Islam. Very soon the new doctrine invaded Europe. The Byzantine empire, weakened by corruption, and still more by schism, offered but feeble resistance to the fanatical hordes who overran its fairest provinces. But through the indomitable energy of the Roman Pontiffs, the advancing waves of barbarism were checked by the Crusades, and, in more modern times, the Christian heroism of Poland and Hungary forced the followers of the prophet to abandon all designs on the West.

The doctrines of Mohammed are contained in the Koran, a book which the prophet said he received from the Angel Gabriel (1). According to him, the combined intellects of all the men in the world, aided by all the demons, could not have composed any one of its chapters; it is the greatest and most divine of all miracles. From amid a mass of fables, puerilities, and obscenities, taken, respectively, from the Jewish Talmud, the Apocryphal Gospels, and the Arabic romances of his day, we extract from the Koran the following principal doctrines of Mohammed: There is but one God, the Creator of the universe, the Judge of all men; God has no Son, for He needs nothing; when Jesus wished to be adored as God, He was rebuked by God, and excused Himself, saying, " Thou knowest that I have given to men only Thy commandment, that they should adore only Thee, my God and their own." (Sura 13 and 14.) Jesus was the Word of God (Su. 2); His Gospel was the Light and Confirmation of the Old Testament (Su. 12); He was divinely conceived, and born of Mary, a virgin sister of Moses (2), and at His birth, which took place under a palm tree, Mary

(1) The Koran is best known to English readers through the translation of George Sale whose deistical sympathies caused him to treat, in his preface, the Mohammedan doctrines with very great leniency. The best refutation of the Koran is that of Marracci (Entire Text of the Koran; Padua, 1698), professor of Arabic in the Propaganda at Rome, in the seventeenth century. This author makes no assertion that he does not corroborate with a text, and with testimonies from Arabic authors. Volney, in his Voyage in Syria and Egypt (made in 1783-85), although himself more than half infidel, says that the insensate teachings of the Koran are the natural cause of all the miseries experienced by the subjects of the Forte. Mohammed tells his followers, in the commencement of the book, that none of its points can admit of doubt, that a terrible punishment awaits all who will not accord it a full and hearty belief. One of the most salient characteristics of the Koran is its silence as to the interior virtues: there is no mention of the love of God and our neighbor, of mortification, of humility, of penitence.

(2) The reader need not be surprised at this anachronism, for the Koran is filled with such errors. Mohammed called himself "the prophet without learning."

fainted through pain, and was restored by eating of the fruit which Jesus, from the womb, called upon the palm to produce; He predicted His own death and resurrection; He was not crucified, God having substituted another in His place (Su. 29, 53, 11). The virgin Mary was devoted to God by her mother at the instant of her conception, and was the purest of all creatures; her maternity of Jesus was announced by the angels (Su. 29). Solomon received his wisdom from the demons, and was a great magician (Su. 1); Abraham received the law from God Himself, and built a temple at Mecca (Su. 2); God also gave the law to Moses (Su 42); Ishmael was one of the prophets (Su. 11). The dead will arise at the last day (Su. 28). Paradise is a place of voluptuous enjoyment, a land watered by most limpid streams, and shaded by beautiful trees; the good who inhabit it are adorned with rings and bracelets, always have plenty to eat, and recline on magnificent couches; the region produces streams of sweet milk, the most generous of wines, and the purest of honey. But above all other joys, the houris are beautiful virgins, never deflowered by either men or devils, and are destined for the solace of the faithful (Su. 23, 28, 54, 57, 62, 65) (1). The wicked and unbelievers are to be tortured in everlasting fire (Su. 66). There is a Purgatory, and we should pray for the dead (Su. 29, 46). All living things came from one soul; men are derived from shade, demons from fire (Su. 15, 65) (2). Man is the victim of fate (Su. 50, 67). Adam fell, and hence came concupiscence into the world (Su. 30). The doctrines of the Koran are not to be disputed, and no proof is to be required of their truth; all questions about this book are to be left till the last day (Su. 9). The faithful are encouraged to battle for Islam; Paradise is only for the strong in war; those who fall in battle, are not said to die, but rather live in God (Su. 6); those who flee from the combat will be punished by eternal fire; especially against Christian should the true believers war; captives should be killed or

(1) Mohammed assigns a separate paradise to women, and it is remarkable that while he creates the houris for the delectation of men, he assigns no lovers to the gentle sex.

(2) Mohammed contradicts this doctrine in other places, saying that man was formed from the earth, and the demons from nothing.

reduced to slavery (1); the enemy who yields is to be received into the faith; four out of the twelve months are to be devoted to war (Su. 6,18,19). Circumcision is commanded, but is not to be effected until the thirteenth year. A man may have several wives, according to his means, providing he is able to keep peace among them; wives may be repudiated or changed; one may not marry his sister, aunt, granddaughter, daughter-in-law, or two sisters (Su. 8,9). An adulteress is to be imprisoned at home until death; a disobedient or sulky wife is to be whipped (Ibi). The word of an infidel has no value (Su. 6). The use of pork or of blood, and of wine, is prohibited (Su. 12, 3, 16). Frequent prayer, with the face turned towards Mecca, is enjoined; before it, if water is at hand, the face, neck, feet and hands, are to be washed; if there is no water, sand is to be used (Su. 3, 9). Friday is the special day for worship (Su. 72). Mohammed is more severe upon usury than are some Christian moralists (Su. 3). Revenge on an enemy is a sacred duty (Su. 60, 52). Once at least in his life every believer must make the pilgrimage to Mecca, unless prevented by absolute poverty (Su. 19). The religion founded by Mohammed (2). as Mosheim remarks (3) would have been somewhat different, had he met with no resistance in its propagation. The obstinacy of the Arabs in clinging to many of their ancient traditions, and the hope of attracting both Christians and Jews to his ranks, caused the impostor to tolerate much that was otherwise distasteful to him (4).

It is not our province to enter upon a refutation of Mohammed's doctrines, but we may be allowed to draw the reader's attention to the following points: True religion is ordained for the contemplation of truth, and tends to the cultivation of purity of heart and to the leading of a good

(1) To the credit of Mohammed it must be admitted that though he warred for Islam, he showed no love for the use of torture. In this respect his successors were very different from him.

(2) Christians generally style this religion " Mohammedanism." The term is offensive to Moslem ears, and sounds to them very much as "Nazarenism" would to us. A Mussulman designates his faith as Islam, an Arabic word signifying "full submission to the will of God." Its formula, as announced by the muezzin from the minarets, is "Allah illah Allah : Mohammed resoul allah"—"God is God: Mohammed is His prophet."

(3) Hist., 8th Cent., p. 1, c, 2, § 2.

(4) Le Noir rightly sums up the Mohammedan system as a tyranny of God over creatures, of man over woman, and of the strong over the weak. See his edition of Bergier's Dictionary for an excellent essay on this subject.

life; while the spirit of Islam is of the earth, earthy, and tends merely to the brutal joys of lust and gluttony. True-religion does not contradict itself, but the law of Mohammed is contradictory in nearly every one of its points. True religion is zealous for the majesty and dignity of God, while Islam attributes to Him many absurd, puerile and even wicked things. True religion does not use the art of lying as a means of propagation, while the Koran contains innumerable and shameless untruths (1). True religion does not, oppose what it recognises as true and divine; the Koran acknowledges the Gospel as true and divine, and yet opposes it most strenuously. True religion does not assert that God is the author of sin; while Mohammed, by declaring that God created Satan out of a pestiferous fire (Su. 25), makes the demon evil by nature. From the very origin of Islam, there have not been wanting Christian authors to defend the truth against its attacks, but as the system was one which relied more upon the sword than upon argument for success, our writers generally confined themselves to the encouragement of the Christian peoples in resisting its inroads. However, there are many who combated it from a religious point of view. Thus, Pope Pius II (1458-64) wrote a learned and elegant epistle to the Turkish sultan, Mohammed II. Cardinal Cusa dedicated to the same Pontiff three books entitled The Koran Sifted. The Greek Emperor, John Cantacuzene (d. 1400), wrote four Apologies for Christianity against the Mohammedans. The Dominican, Richard of Florence, gave an excellent Confutation of the Laws of Mohammed. Cardinal Torquemada also wrote much on this matter. Among more modern writers, may be mentioned Guadagnolo. of the Minor Clerks; Malvasia, of the Minors Conventual; the Jesuits, Gonza'ez and Luchesini; and finally, the most satisfactory of all, Marracci, of the Congregation of the Mother of God. The reader may also consult with profit, Bergier, in his Dictionary • as also Cantù passim, in his Universal History, and especially, in the Documents, art. Mohammed.

(1) In Sura 13, the Christians are said to adore Mary as a God. In Su. 15, Abraham is said to have been an idolater, and converted by studying the stars. In Su. 27, Mohammed calls upon God to witness that he was taken from Mecca to Jerusalem, and thence to Heaven, to receive a revelation. In Su. 47. he asserts that Christians attribute daughters, as well as a Son. to God.

The most casual reader of the Koran cannot fail to remark the gross ignorance displayed by its author. Geography, history, chronology, physics, and common sense, are equally ignored in his mixture of Talmud, Arabic romance, and Christian orthodoxy and heresy. Mohammed was not unconscious of his defects in matter of science, and he well knew that knowledge would be an enemy of his doctrine. Hence, he forbade his followers the study of letters and of philosophy, and for more than a century, this prohibition was strictly enforced (1); it was in accordance with this idea, that the caliphs burned the extensive library of Alexandria and all others they could reach. This hatred of science, on the part of the Arabian impostor, would seem, of itself, sufficient to preclude any possibility of sympathy from modern incredulists. Yet, so anxious are these gentry to apologize for everything not Christian, that they retort upon us by saying that Christ never made any profane studies, that His Apostles were ignorant, that the great St. Paul was an enemy of philosophy. They forget that Jesus had no need of study; that His Apostles were enlightened by the Holy Ghost, and that they successfully preached their doctrine before the most learned men of their day; that, as yet, infidelity has found no errors in their writings; that St. Paul was not hostile to true learning, but to that false philosophy which destroys the soul of man. It is sickening to be obliged to draw a comparison between Christianity and Islam, but the interests of truth compel us to the task. The opponents of Christianity are fond of asserting that the proofs for the divine origin of both religions, are of the same kind; that a Christian cannot point to the wonderful propagation of his faith as indicative of its having come from God, since the spread of Islam was far more rapid, and nearly as extensive. In chap. 4. we have treated of the propagation of Christianity as a proof of its divinity; it is easy to show that rapid success, while it certainly can be predicated of Islam, cannot be adduced in favor of its claims to obedience.

(1) BRUCKER ; History of Philosophy, v. 3.

We had occasion to remark, in chapter 4, that in the age of Augustus it was as improbable, humanly speaking, that Christianity should escape destruction, as it was natural, among the Orientals, and at any time, that the law of Mohammed should be adopted by many. The Mohammedan system was conformable to the brutal instincts of depraved nature; therefore, humanly speaking, it ought to have prospered. Christianity, on the contrary, was diametrically opposed to the tendencies and genius of the age that witnessed its birth, and was a pronounced enemy of all that the carnal man held most dear; therefore, humanly speaking, it should have succumbed. To explain the propagation of Christianity, we must recur to the Providence of God; to explain that of Mohammedanism, the forces of nature are at hand, and furnish evident reasons by which to account for it. Christianity, therefore, rightly claims a divine origin, and hence, our obedience; Mohammedanism, however, plainly shows a human origin, and hence cannot demand our allegiance. And how different was the force against which Mohammed contended from that which was hurled against Christianity! In the days of the Arabian impostor, the Roman Empire was already tottering; in those of his successors, its military strength was contemptible. But in the early days of Christianity, Rome was at the zenith of her power, and it was all put forth against the rival of the state religion.

Few men have surpassed Mohammed in matter of luxury; still fewer have so impudently excused their turpitude. Not content with a plurality of wives, he arrogated to himself the right to take those of others; not content with the intercourse of his more mature slaves, he abused those of tender age. And he dared to justify these excesses as being expressly permitted him by God, composing, with that intent, the 33rd and 36th chapters of the Koran. Although he prohibited promiscuous fornication to others, he wrote the 66th chapter to show that God allowed it to him. He was greedy, for he claimed for himself the fifth of all booty, and received bribes for judicial decisions; he even declared that God had given him the entire earth as his own.   The very followers of Mohammed did not deny that he was a hypocrite, perfidious, vindictive, and ambitious; they excused him for all, believing that in everything he was inspired by God (1). And this man is called the peer of Jesus Christ by certain of our infidels. Both were enthusiasts, it is said, both great religionists, both successful reformers, and the system founded by each is human.

The apologists of Mohammedanism admit that the false prophet gave no signs of a divine mission, that he not only performed no miracles, but that he declared he had not come for that purpose.  To the people of Mecca, who demanded his divine credentials in the shape of a miracle, he replied that Moses and Jesus had worked them, and yet had converted but few; that miracles do not, of themselves, convince the mind. The followers of Mohammed, indeed, long after his death, attributed many miracles to him, but they are all unworthy of God, and are all unattested by eyewitnesses. Nor do enlightened Mussulmans lay any stress upon these alleged prodigies of the prophet; they cite only the rapid success of their religion as a proof of its divine origin. The miracles of Christ and His Apostles, on the contrary, are adduced by us as evidence of His divine mission; they are attested by eyewitnesses, and are admitted by Pagans as well as Christians; and finally, they are all worthy of God. But there is wanting in Islamism another sign of divine origin, which is possessed by Christianity, in an eminent degree, viz., a sound system of moral teaching.  Although prescribing a multitude of external observances, such as purification before prayer, the pilgrimage to Mecca, circumcision, praying five times a day, alms-giving, the fast of the Ramadan (2) ; there is not a word of love of God and of our neighbor, of humility, of gratitude to God, etc. (3). Idolatry alone can exclude the Moslem from eternal happiness. Chastity is of no account, revenge is a duty, perjury is permissible. No law is more sacred to the

(1) MARRACCI, Preface to Koran, notes to Su. 66.

(2) During this fast, which lasts twenty-nine days, no one can taste food or drink during daylight.  The fast is followed by three days of gluttony called the "Little Bairam."

(3) The angel Gabriel, disguised as a Bedouin, asked Mohammed, "Of what does Islam, consist?" The prophet replied, "In professing one God, and me as his prophet; in observing the hours of prayer and the fast of the Ramadan; in alms-giving, and in the accomplishment of the pilgrimage to Mecca." And Gabriel answered, "Such it is."

Islamites than the following: "Fight the infidels until every false religion is annihilated; put them to death, sparing none" (1). Against the "infidel dogs" all injustices are not only permitted, but commanded, and wherever the law of Islam is untempered by fear of the "Frank," it is only by force of gold that the unbeliever can live in the land. And this is the moral code compared, to its advantage, with that of Christ, by certain modern writers. These authors carefully abstain from noting the baneful effects of Islamism. So thoroughly perverted is the imagination of a Mussulman, that he cannot realize the possibility of the least liberty of intercourse between the sexes, without crime as a consequence; hence, the captivity of women under the jailership of eunuchs. Some of our philosophasters make the climate responsible for this corruption. But has the climate changed since the time when Asia and Africa were Christian? In those days, the husband was not so diffident of the virtue of his wife as to keep her under lock and key. And how about Abyssinia, and other Christian communities which are afflicted with the same terribly demoralizing climate? They accord the weaker sex the same liberty that we practise, and with no evil results (2).

Perhaps the principal evil of Islamism, at least, the one which is most felt by Christians living in its midst, and by surrounding nations, is the doctrine of absolute predestination. Believing in remorseless fate, the Islamite does not take the same precautions that the Christian takes to ward off pestilence, famine, &c. The filth of Eastern cities, of most Eastern people in their persons, is too well known to need de-scription. But no fear of plague can cause the Mussulman to forget that "What will be, will be; God is great" (3)

(1) Koran, Su. 8, v. 12 and 39 ; 9, v. 30; 47, v. 4.

(2) In Nubia, females are often nearly naked ; sometimes, entirely so. Yet thev are eminently modest and retiring.

(3) As we write these pages (1883), the European powers are said to be considering the propriety, or rather the necessity, of some regulation which will obviate the evils attendant upon the pilgrimages to Mecca, always a source of danger to the health of the world on account of the filthy habits, enjoined by their law on these occasions, upon the devotees.

Great post!
Thanks for posting this.  It's revealing to know the Koran leaves out the interior virtues.  That leaves an enormous vacuum.

Has anyone else here also thought that Islam is easily exposed for what it is by the idea that God would have men using virgins for pleasure throughout all eternity in Heaven? 

Carnal relations in Heaven?!  That is seriously warped, blasphemous, and seems like an insidious hook into human nature.  I'm preaching to the choir here, but there is no need for reproduction in the place of perfection where God is present and nothing whatsoever is lacking or is insufficient.

I wish they could all be saved from their own religion.  Pray that the deaths of Christian martyrs throughout the Muslim world lead to conversions.
Enlightening. I already knew this stuff but I enjoyed the read nonetheless.

Can I download this from somewhere?
I checked Internet Archives just now and they have high-quality pdf's of all Parsons' books:

The chapter I posted above is from Volume 1, centuries I-VIII
(11-11-2009, 01:31 PM)Admiratio Wrote: Thanks for posting this.  It's revealing to know the Koran leaves out the interior virtues.  That leaves an enormous vacuum.

Has anyone else here also thought that Islam is easily exposed for what it is by the idea that God would have men using virgins for pleasure throughout all eternity in Heaven? 

I think that is a pretty good indication that we're dealing with a wicked religion. But also that the Koran contains lies about what Christians believe. Worshiping Mary as God? Where did Mohammed get that?

(11-11-2009, 11:13 AM)devotedknuckles Wrote: Great post!

Tx, DK!
(11-11-2009, 02:35 PM)stvincentferrer Wrote: Worshiping Mary as God? Where did Mohammed get that?

Probably, "Allah" got that from a heretical priest in Syria where Mohammed went for a while before preaching Islam in Mecca. I've read about that heresy somewhere.
(11-11-2009, 04:53 PM)Vetus Ordo Wrote:
(11-11-2009, 02:35 PM)stvincentferrer Wrote: Worshiping Mary as God? Where did Mohammed get that?

Probably, "Allah" got that from a heretical priest in Syria where Mohammed went for a while before preaching Islam in Mecca. I've read about that heresy somewhere.

Sergius being a Nestorian, that would make sense. The Nestorians rejected the title "Mother of God" (Theotokos)  for the Blessed Virgin, affirming only "Mother of Christ" (Christotokos). Perhaps the Nestorians with whom Mohammed had contact criticized the Catholic faith as turning Mary into a god, and Mohammed adopted their polemic against orthodoxy in his false description of our faith.
(11-12-2009, 08:33 AM)Cyriacus Wrote:
(11-11-2009, 04:53 PM)Vetus Ordo Wrote:
(11-11-2009, 02:35 PM)stvincentferrer Wrote: Worshiping Mary as God? Where did Mohammed get that?

Probably, "Allah" got that from a heretical priest in Syria where Mohammed went for a while before preaching Islam in Mecca. I've read about that heresy somewhere.

Sergius being a Nestorian, that would make sense. The Nestorians rejected the title "Mother of God" (Theotokos)  for the Blessed Virgin, affirming only "Mother of Christ" (Christotokos). Perhaps the Nestorians with whom Mohammed had contact criticized the Catholic faith as turning Mary into a god, and Mohammed adopted their polemic against orthodoxy in his false description of our faith.

Yes, it is a known fact that Mohammed falsely depicts the Christian faith in the Qu'ran. Amazingly, that fact is something that escapes muslim apologists time and time again in their vain attempts to refute Christianity. Another amazing fact is their widespread distorted knowledge of history in general prior to the rise of Islam and of the history of the Church in particular.

Perhaps it was indeed Mohammed's contact with the heretical nestorians the source of "Allah's" confusion about Our Blessed Mother in the texts. Not to mention the bizarre tale of Judas being crucified in place of Our Lord.

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