|60||THE APOLOGY OF AL KINDY.|
poison, it shall not hurt you; that is to say, when ye put forth your claim that men should listen to the Gospel, then this shall come to pass. And they did so, and published their message by means of these miracles. And thus great and powerful kings and philosophers and learned men and judges of the earth hearkened unto them, without the lash or the rod, with neither sword nor spear, nor the advantages of birth or helperswith no wisdom of this world or eloquence or power of language or subtlety of reason, with no worldly inducement nor any relaxation of the moral law, but simply at the voice of truth enforced by miracles beyond the power of man to show.1 And so there came over to them the kings and great ones of the earth; and the philosophers abandoned their systems, and with all their wisdom and learning betook them to a saintly life, giving up the delights of this world and their established usages, and became followers of a company of poor men, fishers and publicans, who had neither name nor rank, nor any claim other than that they were obedient to the command of the Messiah,He that gave them the power to do such wonderful works. Now these, if ye will (the Lord guide thee, my friend!), are proofs of a Divine mission, not such silly things as are told of thy Master, in which there is no reality. As for the miracle of the pitcher into which they say he thrust his hand, and forthwith there issued from it water, so that they drank therefrom, they and their
|FALSE TALES TOLD OF MAHOMET.||61|
cattlethe account comes from Mohammed ibn Ishâc (and) Zohri,1 and the authority is insufficient: for even the traditionists themselves are not at one about the truth of it. Thus the historical evidence altogether fails, and the claim must be abandoned. Instead of miracles, the claim of thy Master was enforced simply by the sword. Whosoever hesitated to acknowledge him a prophet sent by God, was slain, or spared only on payment of tribute, as the price of his unbelief.
"Finally, what could be more conclusive proof, if thou wilt judge impartially (the Lord guide thee!), than this, namely, that thy Master himself cut away the ground from all such tales as are told of him, in that he said openly and plainly, 'There hath been no prophet, but his people have told lies about him; and I am no exception that my people should not tell lies about me. Wherefore, whensoever ye shall hear aught about me, then turn to the Book which I have left with you; and if it conform thereto, and there be mention of the same in it, then it is true that I said or did what is related of me; but if there be no mention of it in the book, then I am free therefrom, and that which is related of me is a lie, and I neither said nor did it.' Wherefore see, my