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Muhammad and the eternity of the Qur'an1 may seem to us in some degree contradictory to this doctrine, but there can be no doubt that it lies at the very basis of the whole Muhammadan faith.2 A tradition current among Muslims represents their whole kalimah, as having been inscribed by the command of God Most High upon the base of the "Celestial Throne"3 before the creation of the world: and another4 tells us that Muhammad himself taught his followers that out of all the verses in the whole Qur'an the greatest in value and importance is that which says "GOD, there is no God but He, the Living, the Enduring" (Surah iii., v. 1). The Unity of GOD is proclaimed in every Surah or chapter of the Qur'an, and that with no uncertain

1 Stobart's "Islam," p. 99, and note: Osborn, " Islam under the Khalifs of Baghdad," pp. 255, 256.
2 E.g. "Mishkat," Bk. I., sect. I.:

عن ابي هُرَيْرة قال ـ قال رسول الله صلعم الإيمان بضع وسبعون شُعْبَة فافضلها قول لا اله اّلا الله‫.
3 See e.g. "Qisasu'l Anbiya," initio;
بس فرمان آمد قام را كة بر ساق عرش بنويس لا اِلهَ اِلاَّ اللهُ مُحَمَّدْ رّسُولُ اللهِ‫.
4 Mishkat, "Book on the Virtues of the Qur'an":
عن ابي بن كعب قال قال رسول الله صلعم ـ يا ابا منذر اتدرى اى آية من كتاب الله تعالى معك اَعْظم  .... قلُت ـ الله لا اّلا هو الحى القيوم ـ قال فضرب في صدرى فقال ليهنك العلم يا ابا المنذر ـ رواه مسلم ‫.

sound. The Chapter of Simplicity or Purity of Essence (Surah CXII.), revealed at Mecca in Muhammad's early days as a prophet, and which pious Muslims assert on his authority to be equal in value to one-third of the whole Book, very clearly states the Muhammadan conception of the Divine Unity and its abhorrence of Polytheistic ideas; in these terms:—"Say thou, He is GOD alone, GOD the eternal: He begat not, nor was He begotten; nor hath He any equal."1

Muhammad once
wavered in
asserting this.

True, one Tradition2 represents the Prophet as deviating on one occasion from his otherwise unswerving assertion of this cardinal doctrine by

1Sura al-Ikhlas [cxii, 1-4] 
قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ
اللَّهُ الصَّمَدُ
لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ
وَلَمْ يَكُن لَّهُ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ
2 Related by Ibn Ishaq, Muhammad's earliest biographer, whose work has come down to us, and confirmed by Ibn Hisham, "Sirat," vol. i., pp. 127, sqq. (Arabic edit.), and many other Muhammadan historians, as Al Tabari (Tarikh) and other writers of authority, though fiercely denied by Al Ghazzali, Baibaqi, and others. In the Mawahib Alluduniyah several versions of the story are given, among others the following:
قدم نفر من مهاجرة الحبشة حين قراء عليه السلام والنجم اذا هو حتى بلغ ـ افرئيتم اللات والعزىا ومناة والثلاث الاخرىا ـ القىا الشيطان في منيتهِ اى في تلاوته ـ تلك الغرانيق العلىا وان شفاعتهن لترتجى ـ فلمّا ختم السورة سجد صلعم وسجد معه المشركون لتوهّمهم اّنه ذكر آلهتهم بخير ـ وفشى ذلك بالنّاس واظهره الشيطان حتىا بلغ ارض الحبشة ومن بها من المسلمين
[Footnote continued onto next page].
1 Say: He is Allah, the One!
Allah, the eternally Besought of all!
He begetteth not nor was begotten.
And there is none comparable unto Him. Sura 112:1-4
Pickthal's translation

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