Click to View



judicature; and was there promoted to an honourable post, implying that he possessed more than usual intelligence and ability. The work of such a man may fairly be viewed as a guage of the religious mind of Moslem India. And hence, as an index of the ideas and dogmas against which we have to contend, too much stress cannot be laid upon such writings. It is incumbent upon us to know well our adversaries' ground; and it is only by such inquiries as the present, that we can hope to reconnoitre it.

It is very sad to find, amongst educated men, such an utter want of the faculty of historical criticism, as we see here. With persons of this class, our great difficulty will lie in placing before them the means for discriminating the grains of truth from the masses of fabricated traditions. The Bombay biography has but alluded to the subject. Even for the unbiassed mind and intelligence of the European, the work of disentangling truth from falsehood in these latter-day traditions, is one encompassed by great difficulties: how much more difficult then to lead the Mohammedans themselves to true principles of criticism! It is however a task towards which much has been contributed already, by the studies of our learned men; and we should not shrink from its further prosecution.

The study is also useful in pressing upon us the necessity of extreme care, that the historical details placed before our fellow-subjects are thoroughly correct. Under the best possible auspices, they will receive our advances with distrust and our criticisms with incredulity. But if we give to them such histories as our English Lives of Mohammed have generally been, we shall put ourselves in an incomparably worse position. Perceiving want of accuracy in our narratives, and imperfection in our means of information, they will naturally doubt all our assertions, and summarily deny our conclusions. But if, on the contrary, we carefully avail ourselves of the original sources which the


Click to View