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Poems from the Divan of Hafiz, by Getrude Lowthian Bell, [1897], at


Stanza 1.—The story of the creation of Adam, and of the part played in it by the angels, is told by Mahommad in the following terms: "When thy Lord said unto the angels, I am going to place a substitute on earth; they said, Wilt thou place there one who will do evil therein, and shed blood? but we celebrate thy praise and sanctify thee. God answered, Verily I know that which ye know not; and he taught Adam the names of all things, and then proposed them to the angels, and said, Declare unto me the names of these things if ye say truth. They answered, Praise be unto thee, we have no knowledge but what thou teachest us, for thou art knowing and wise. God said, Oh Adam, tell them their names. And when he had told them their names, God said, Did I not tell you that I know the secrets of heaven and earth, and know that which ye discover and that which ye conceal? And when we said unto the angels, Worship Adam; they all worshipped him, except Eblis, who refused, and was puffed up with pride, and became of the number of unbelievers."—Koran, chap. ii.

Tradition has amplified and adorned this story. It is said that the three archangels, Gabriel, Michael, and Israfil, were each in turn ordered to take from the earth seven handfuls of clay of three different colours, red, white, and yellow, that God might create out of it the races of mankind. But each in turn was moved by the earth's prayer that he would not rob her of her substance, and each returned to heaven empty-handed. The fourth time God sent Azrail, the angel of death, who tore the seven handfuls from the earth, but hearing her lamentations, promised her that when man ceased to live his substance should return to the earth from whence it had been taken. With the clay that Azrail brought him God moulded the figure of man, and when it was finished he left it forty days to dry. The angels came often to gaze upon it, and Eblis, kicking it with his foot, found that it rang hollow. When the figure of clay was dry, God breathed the breath of life into its nostrils, and ordered the angels to submit to the man he had created. But Eblis refused, saying that he had been created of pure fire, and would not serve a hollow mould of clay; for which reason God cast him out of Paradise. The rest of the angels acknowledged the superiority of Adam after God had made him tell them the names of all the creatures of the earth, though they had at first protested that it was not seemly that they should bow down to him, for their love for God was greater than his. It is with this legend in his mind that Hafiz speaks of the angels as standing at the tavern door, where man may enter and receive instruction in God's wisdom, but where they must knock in vain, and as moulding a wine-cup with the despised clay out of which the human body was moulded. I think he means that man himself is the vessel into which divine love and wisdom are poured; and when he says that the angels first brought him wine, he means that by their example they showed him what it was to be intoxicated by the contemplation of God.

Stanza 3.—"Concerning the forbidden fruit," says Sale in a note to the second chapter of the Koran, "the Mohammadans, as well as the Christians, have different opinions. Some say it was an ear of wheat, some will have it to have been a fig-tree, and others a vine."

There are supposed to be seventy-two sects in Islam. Many Mahommadan writers compare them to the seventy-two branches of the family of Noah after the Babylonian confusion of tongues and the dispersal of the children of Adam.

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