with the iron of Semitic theism in the feet of the great image with head of gold that rest onAsia and Africa. The rapid spread of Islam in Africa and Malaysia is, we believe, largely dueto its animistic character. The primitive religions had points of contact with Islam that weremutually attractive. It stooped to conquer them but fell in stooping. The reformation of Islam,if such be possible, must begin here. The student of Islam will never understand the commonpeople unless he knows their curious beliefs and half-heathen practices. The missionaryshould not only know but sympathize. Avoiding contempt or denunciation he will even findpoints of contact in Animistic Islam that may lead discussion straight to the Cross and theAtonement. In popular Islam we have to deal with men and women groping after light andstruggling in the mire for a firm foothold on the Rock. This book may help us find their handin the dark. As we read its pages we must not forget that even in Egypt and India over ninety-four percent of the population is illiterate and therefore has no other religion than popularIslam.S. M. ZWEMER.
ISLAM AND ANIMISM
THAT Islam in its origin and popular character is a composite faith, with Pagan, Jewish andChristian elements, is known to all students of comparative religion. Rabbi Geiger in hiscelebrated essay
has shown how much of the warp and woof of the Koran was taken fromTalmudic Judaism and how the entire ritual is simply that of the Pharisees translated intoArabic. Tisdall in his "Sources of Islam" and other writers, especially Wellhausen, Goldziherand Robertson Smith, have indicated the pagan elements that persist in the Moslem faith tothis day and were taken over by Mohammed himself from the old Arabian idolatry. Christianteaching and life too had their influence on Mohammed and his doctrine, as is evident notonly in the acknowledged place of honor given to Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, John theBaptist, and other New Testament characters, but in the spirit of universalism, of conquestand above all in the mystic beliefs and ascetic practices of later Islam."A three-fold cord is not easily broken." The strength of Islam is its composite character. Itentrenches itself everywhere and always in animistic and pagan superstition. It fights with allthe fanatic devotion of Semitic Judaism with its exaggerated nationalism. It claims at once toinclude and supersede all that which Jesus Christ was and did and taught. It is a religion of compromise, of conservatism, and of conquest.It is our purpose to show how strong is the pagan element in Mohammedanism, how manydoctrines and practices of popular Islam find their explanation only in a survival of theanimism of Ancient Arabia or were incorporated from many heathen sources in the spread of the faith; doctrines and practices which Islam was never able to eliminate or destroy. At theoutset of our discussion it need not surprise us that a belief in demons and the old Arabiansuperstitions persisted in spite of Islam. Five times daily the Moslem muezzin calls out fromthe Mosque: "There is no god but Allah." The people repeat this and reiterate it far more thana hundred times during the day in their quarrels, feasts, fasts, rejoicings, and commonconversation. But in my daily observations
and I have lived among them for more thantwenty-five years
I find they have fetishes and superstitious customs which amount to as