from the Book of Esther 1 we learn that Haman was the favourite of Ahasuerus (that is to say, Xerxes, as the Greeks called him), who lived in Persia many hundreds of years later, instead of in Egypt in Pharaoh's time. Again, according to the Qur'an, Pharaoh told Haman to build a tower of brick, the top of which would reach unto heaven (Surah xxviii. 38; xl. 38, 39). But from Gen. xi. 1-9, we learn that it was in Babylon, many generations before Pharaoh's time, that the people built this famous tower.

We are told that the Golden Calf worshipped by Israel in the wilderness in Moses' time was made by "the Samaritan"( السّامريّ—Surah xx. 87, 96). But the city of Samaria was not built till hundreds of years after Moses' death (I Kings xvi. 24). Evidently in the mind of the composer of this Surah there was confusion between the golden calf made by the Israelites in the wilderness and the two golden calves afterwards worshipped in the kingdom of Israel after the time of David and Solomon (I Kings xii. 28). But even these two calves were not made by a Samaritan, since Samaria was not yet built. When it was built, however, it became the capital of that kingdom, and this fact partly accounts for the very great and notable historical error to which we refer.

In Surah ii. 250 we are told of a certain incident in connexion with selecting a body of warriors by observing in what manner they drank water. The Qur'an says that this took place in the time of Saul (طالوت) and in connexion with David's victory over Goliath. But the Bible tells us that it took place long before, in the time of Gideon.

In Surah xviii. 8-26 is found the story of the Companions of the Cave. But the author of the Masadiru'l Islam [Yanabiu'l Islam: "Original Sources of the Qur'an"] has proved how this fable originated. No doubt in the "Days of Ignorance" some very credulous and ignorant Christians believed it, and from them the Meccans and the composer of this Surah learnt the

1 Esther iii. 1, vii. 10.

tale. For the story is contained in the writings of several Syriac authors, along with many other monkish legends. In Europe it is known as a tale to amuse children. There are many different forms of the fable, but its origin has been discovered in the legend which a heathen Greek writer, Diogenes Laertius, about A. D. 200, relates 1 about Epimenides' long sleep. Epimenides was a heathen Greek boy who for many years slept in a cave. Diogenes Laertius quotes contradictory accounts of the length of this boy's life given by different Greek writers.

It is surely unnecessary to quote any more of what learned men have called the anachronisms and historical inaccuracies of the Qur'an. From what has been already said, however, it will be clear to the honoured reader that it is not wise to appeal to the valuable information contained in the Qur'an regarding ancient times and vanished nations as a proof of its inspiration and of Muhammad's office of a prophet.

Another proof of the inspiration of the Qur'an is said to be its wonderful freedom from self-contradiction. Some Muslims say that in so large a book there must have occurred many contradictory statements, if it were not of Divine origin. But men of learning have pointed out many contradictions in the Qur'an. Some of these are only slight, others are of great importance. As an example of slight contradictions it will be sufficient to ask our honoured readers to compare Surah lvi. 13, 14, with verses 38 and 39 of the same Surah. Al Baizawi's attempted explanation and the tradition mentioned by Zamakhshari here are not quite satisfactory. But this is a trifling matter. We proceed to point out a few of real consequence.

In Surah iv. 51 and 116 we are told that the one sin which God will never pardon is Shirk (الشّرك) or the association of partners with God. Yet in Surah vi. 76, 77, 78, we are informed that Abraham, the Friend of

1 [De Vitis Philosophorum, Lib. I, cap. x. 2, 4.]