|68||THE APOLOGY OF AL KINDY.|
piety.' But thou well knowest that the two being contradictory, will not consist together,as if one were to say that a man was standing and sitting, blind and seeing, healthy and diseased, at one and the same time; and I think not that thou wouldest admit so untenable a claim. Besides, this amalgamated creed would have been fetched from two separate sources, the Gospel and the Tourāt. And supposing thou wert to say, 'I adopt both these Dispensations';. I think not that the professors of either would acknowledge thee; for they have inherited their respective creeds and hold the same in their hands intact; and would reply that it was simple plagiarism. Nay rather, do thou show us something of thine own, which is in thy hands, and not in ours, but new; and we shall then acknowledge thee to be true and just. Ah, is it not because thou takest refuge in the third, and seeketh help therefrom, however much thou mayest disclaim it? For I wot not that thou wouldest consent to hold thy Master as a mere follower of Moses and the Messiah, seeing that thou claimest for him a position so exalted that had it not been for the sake of him neither Adam nor the world would have taken shape. And that thy Master showed no miracle (as he himself disclaimed the power), why was it but because there remained no Fourth dispensation? Now if there are but three, and Moses and the Messiah came with two, what is there left for thy Master but the third? I know not which of these answers I am to choose. I pray thee, my Friend, be honest with thyself, and evade
|THE CORAN: HOW COLLECTED.||69|
not the question, for that were against the conditions of this controversy; seeing that religion is not one of those matters which men of sense and understanding can refrain from probing and discussing, or neglect to test by right principle. The Lord lead thee graciously to the truth, and strengthen thee to abandon the false."
"We come now to what thou regardest as thy stronghold, to wit, the Book which is in thy hands. Thine argument is that the narratives therein of the prophets and the Messiah prove that it was revealed by God, because thy Master was unlearned, and could have no knowledge of the same excepting by way of inspiration. Again, thou sayest that 'neither Man nor Genius could produce the like thereof'; and, 'If ye be in doubt as to that which We have revealed unto our servant, then bring a Sura the like thereof, and call your witnesses other than the Lord, if ye be true men.' And, yet again, 'If We had sent down this Coran unto a mountain, thou wouldest seen it humbling itself, and cleaving asunder, from fear of the Lord'; and the like effusions. This in thy view is the main evidence of thy Master's claim, ranking with the miracle of the Red Sea, the Staying of the Sun, the Raising of the Dead, and other wonderful works by the Prophets of old and the Messiah. And, by my life! this argument hath deceived many. But it is a weak and hollow subterfuge. The answer
Sura ii. 23.
Sura lix. 21.