Muhammad repeated Surah liv. 44, 45. In this he acted wisely, and very much as any other general would have done, except that he stated that his message of encouragement and promise of victory came from God. Cheered by such words, the Muslims fought bravely and gained a great victory. But this was not in any sense a miracle. Nor can Muhammad's words of encouragement be justly entitled a prophecy.

We now turn to passages of the second class. Some of these are supposed to predict the preservation of the Qur'an in completeness and its protection from all injury. The author of the Izharu'l Haqq, writing on this subject, 1 after quoting Surah xv. 9, "Verily it is We that have sent down the Warning, and verily We are surely Protectors," says: "That is, from alteration and addition to and subtraction from what has been handed down in succession . . . by the Reciters of the time. And it has happened just as it was announced. Accordingly no one among the infidels or the idle or the Qarmatites (القرامطة) has been able, up to this time in which we live, to alter any of it, either one of the letters of its foundations or one of those of its meanings, or one of its vowel-points." Those of our readers who have perused the Third Chapter of the Second Part of our present Treatise, and who remember how 'Uthman destroyed all the old codices of the Qur'an, will be able to estimate the value of this statement. If it is true, then many of the accepted Traditions (احاديث) are false, for, as we have seen, they declare that certain verses of the Qur'an, for example the Verse of Stoning, have been lost. Hence it is not clear that, if Surah xv. 9 be considered as a prophecy, it has been fulfilled. This second class of asserted predictions therefore is, like the first class, of no real value as a proof of the inspiration of the Qur'an and of Muhammad's prophetic office.

In the Third Class there is only one passage, Surah xxx. 1-4, which in the ordinary copies of the Qur'an

1 Part II, pp. 32, 33.

runs thus: "The Byzantines have been defeated in the nearest part of the land, and they shall conquer in a small number of years after their defeat. Unto God belongeth the matter before and after. And in that day the Believers will rejoice with God's help. He helpeth whomsoever He willeth, and He is the Glorious, the Gracious." Some Muslims argue that this is such a great and distinct prophecy that there can be no doubt of Muhammad's being a prophet. They tell us that the first verse refers to the defeat of the Byzantines in Syria by the Persians under Khusrau Parviz. We are told that when news of the victory of the Persians reached Mecca, the Polytheists rejoiced, saying, "The Muslims and the Christians are the People of the Book, while we and the Persians are Gentiles and have no Book." Then this passage was revealed, predicting that the Byzantines would soon defeat the Persians. Abu Bakr laid a bet with Ubai ibn Khalaf that the prediction would be fulfilled within three years, but, when he learnt from Muhammad that the word بِضع used in ver. 3 ("in a small number of years") meant a period of between 3 and 9 years, 1 he altered the terms of the wager. We are told that within seven years from the Byzantines' defeat they overcame their enemies, and that Abu Bakr received from the heirs of the deceased Ubai the amount of the bet. Such is the story. Let us now see what its evidential value is, if we grant that the verses were composed before the Byzantine successes, and that the reading in the ordinary text of the Qur'an is correct.

From history we learn that the Persians defeated the Greek (or Byzantine) forces in Syria in the sixth year before the Hijrah, that is in A.D. 615. As this defeat took place "in the nearest part of the land" to Mecca, news must have been received there within a very few days. Al Baizawi in his commentary tells us that the prophecy was fulfilled when the Byzantines defeated the Persians "on the day of Al Hudaibiyyah."

1 See Al Baizawi's note on the passage.