|84||THE APOLOGY OF AL KINDY.|
advancement. Hence Arabic verse had become interpolated and corrupted, so that it could not in any way be brought forward, otherwise than as a language changed and debased, and, therefore, was no proper argument affecting books that relate to the Divine mysteries.1
The use in the Coran of terms of luxury and artificial life, introduces a new subject, namely, the material inducements contributing to the propagation of Islam. The Arabs, as every one acquainted with history knew, were a needy and barbarous race, feeding on lizards and such-like food, with no shelter from the hot blast of summer, nor covering from the cold winds of winter, hungry and naked. What could they know of rivers of wine and milk; rare fruits and viands; couches of silk and satin spread with velvet cushions upon brocaded carpets; ladies, like pearls hidden within their shells; beautiful pages handing round goblets; delicious shade with murmuring rivuletsthings appertaining rather to the palaces of the Chosroes?2 But travellers brought home from Persia
|INDUCEMENTS TO THE SPREAD OF ISLAM.||85|
the rumor of these marvellous luxuries; and so hearing led to coveting; and coveting, to fighting for the same. His Friend would remember the occasion when the invading Moslem army seized baskets laden with the choice things of Persia; and as they tasted the delicacies thereof, they spake one to another,By the Lord! even if there were no Faith to fight for, it were worth our while to fight for these.1 And thus they fought against an impious nation over whom the Lord gave them the victory; so that they slew them and destroyed their dwellings, for that these had rebelled and shed innocent blood. Even thus doth the Lord visit the sins of stiff-necked peoples, by setting one up against the other.
|Al Kindy proceeds to enumerate various classes brought over to Islam, by sordid and unworthy motives. There were first the mongrel boors of the neighbouring Chaldean delta (al Sawâd);"You may address them in Arabic, and they may move their tongue, like a parrot, in reply; but they are mongrel still. Some retain at heart the dregs of their old Jewish and Magian faith; others, blown about by the wind of the day, cannot tell you the distinction between themselves, the brute creation, and their Maker; reared with the beasts of the field, they are like them,nay, more erring and stupid even than they." Again, there are the idolatrous races, and the|