text, or cutting out therefrom whatever they liked or disliked. Are such, now, the conditions of a Revelation sent down from heaven?

"Furthermore, thy Master was an Arab, living amongst the Bedouins; and to them, and in their language, he submitted his lucubrations. Now it is notorious that the Arabs as a nation are incorrigibly heathenish and graceless; how then could such a people receive from him the secret of the Lord, or truths proper to be revealed to a prophet? Thou knowest the enmity subsisting between Aly and Abu Bekr, Omar, and Othmān; now each of these entered in the text whatever favoured his own claims, and left out what was otherwise. How, then, can we distinguish between the genuine and the counterfeit? And how about the losses caused by Hajjāj? Thou well knowest what kind of faith that tyrant held in other matters; then how canst thou make him an arbiter as to the Book of God,—a man who never ceased to play into the hands of the Omeyyads whenever he found opportunity? And besides all this, the Jews also had a hand in the business; and foisted in what they thought would further their own seditious and rebellious ends.

"All that I have said (continues Al Kindy, after an affectionate personal appeal) is drawn from your own authorities; and no single argument has been advanced but what is based on evidence accepted by yourselves. And in proof thereof, we have the Coran itself, which is a confused heap, with neither system nor order. The sense moreover consisteth not with


itself; but throughout one passage is contradicted by another. Now, what could betray greater ignorance than to bring forward such a book as an evidence of Apostleship, and to put it on a par with the miracles of Moses and Jesus! Surely no one with a grain of sense would dream of it; much less should we who are versed in history and philosophy, be moved by such deceptive reasoning.

Sura xvii. 89.
"Tell me now, what thy Master intended, when he said 'that neither Men nor Genii, let them strive together never so hard, could produce a book like unto the Coran.' If the contention be that the language surpasseth all other composition in eloquence, our answer is that every nation regardeth its own language the most beautiful, while the Arabs hold every other tongue but their own as barbarous; and similarly the Arabic, held by them as the most beautiful, is regarded by other nations to be barbarous.

Foreign words
in the Coran

Sura xii. 2;
xliii. 2.1
"If the claim be that (apart from all other tongues) the Coran is an unparalleled and miraculous model of Arabic (according to the text, Verily, We have sent down the Coran in the Arabic tongue, if perchance ye may comprehend); then, why do we find in it foreign words, as namāric from the Persian, and mishkāt from the Abyssinian, vocabulary?2 Here is a defect either in the messenger or

1  See also Sura xiii. 40; xx. 111; xxxix. 28; xli. 2; xlii. 6; and xlvi. 12.

2  Namāric, carpets or cushions; mishkāt, a lamp; sandus, silk; al astabrac, satin, brocade; abārīck, goblet, are also quoted as foreign words imported into the Coran. The argument here may appear singular to us; but to the Arabs, who piqued themselves on the fulness and purity of their language, it would have a force of its own; and it was no doubt of a kind favourably received at court.