IN order to ascertain whether the Qur'an is or is not a revelation from God Most High, we must study its contents. It is not enough to be able to repeat large portions of it by heart without understanding them. This is more worthy of a parrot than of a man. Those who believe that the Qur'an is God's Word, and that it is a Light and a Guidance to men, should perceive that it can be such only if it enlightens their hearts and intellects, and that it cannot do this unless they comprehend it. A light is given to be set where men can see it, not to be hidden under the bushel of superstition and ignorance. Hence the careful and prayerful study of the Qur'an is incumbent upon all true Muslims. If the book is God's last and final and most perfect revelation; it can do no good to those who do not understand and obey it. Yet the great mass of Muslims content themselves with repeating its verses aloud in order to gain merit for themselves or for the dead. They repeat it in Arabic, though the majority of them do not understand the tongue of the Quraish. This is not the way to employ a book which professes to come from God. Such conduct is as unsuitable as it would be for a traveller on a dark night to hide his torch in a gloomy cavern, instead of using, it to show him the way in which he ought to walk.

Since such lofty claims are made for the Qur'an, and since it is most important that no man should rashly reject any revelation from God, it is desirable that thoughtful Christians also should study the Qur'an and


learn what it teaches, lest in rejecting it they should be throwing away light and guidance and salvation. When both Christians and Muslims have studied the book with earnestness, they will be the better able to help one another to find the truth and to walk in the right way, the way of those with whom God Most High is pleased, not that of those with whom He is angry, or who go astray.

The most important of the contents of the Qur'an is its teaching about the Nature and Attributes of God Most High. It describes Him as One, Eternal, Everlasting, Almighty, All-wise, All-knowing. It tells us that He hears, sees, speaks; that He is the Creator of Heaven and Earth; that He is Merciful, Just, Gracious, Patient, Holy, the Causer of life and of death; that He possesses all perfect Attributes and is devoid of all imperfection, and that He is therefore far removed from weakness, ignorance, injustice, and change. The Qur'an also invites men to belief in the Divine Unity: it absolutely forbids Polytheism and Idolatry. It inculcates belief in the Resurrection, in future rewards and punishments for deeds done here on earth. It speaks of Paradise and of Hell-fire. It-bears witness to the Old Testament and to the New, as has been shown in the First Part of this treatise. It bids Muslims profess belief in all the Prophets, making no distinction between them. It condemns hypocrisy, and declares that certain things are lawful (حلال) and others unlawful (حرام). It forbids murder, adultery, theft, and false swearing. It enjoins that justice should be done to orphans, and that alms be given to the poor.

Everyone, be he Christian or Muslim, will readily admit that much of the teaching which the Qur'an gives on such points is good. All good teaching comes ultimately from the Most Merciful God (who is alone the source of all good), whether we receive such teaching from Him through Prophets, through inspired books, through Conscience, Reason, or in some other manner. But before we admit Muhammad's claim to