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character in the most unfavourable light, nor try to reconcile with one another those that involve real or apparent contradictions.

§ 13. It is usually believed by people in Europe that the Qur'an is the sole and sufficient rule of faith and practice among the followers of Muhammad. This is one among

Rule of Faith
and Practice.

very many other erroneous ideas on the subject of Islam which it is most important to set right. Muslim divines tell us that their rule of faith has as its basis the "four foundations of orthodoxy" as they are called, viz. (1) the Qur'an; (2) the Traditions (Ahadith); (3) Ijma' or the consensus of learned authorities; (4) Qiyas or the method of induction. With reference to the two last, our limits prevent us from saying much, and of the Qur'an itself we have already spoken. The Traditions are regarded by all Muslims as binding upon all true followers of the "Prophet," and they believe that the degree of inspiration and authority attaching to the genuine Traditions regarding Muhammad's sayings and doings is precisely the same as that which should be attributed to the Gospels in their original purity, regarded as accounts of our Lord's life and words. Muhammad's example is considered to be the ideal which all true Muslims should set before themselves, precisely in the same way as we Christians are taught to regard our Redeemer as our pattern. Hence the importance which the "Prophet" attached to the correct transmission of his saying and doings, and hence also the many


precise rules laid down by Muhammadan divines for judging the value and authenticity of the multitudinous Traditions which have gradually sprung into existence. We mentioned in our first lecture the six collections of Traditions accepted by the Sunni Muslims. These taken together are known as "the Six Correct" Books, and are styled the "Sunnah." They are accepted by the Wahhabis as well as by the orthodox Sunnis. The Shi'ahs of


Persia and India, though not willing to acknowledge the Traditions which are acceptable to their enemies the Sunnis, yet have five collections of their own, which they reverence very highly. These are (1) the "Kafi" of Abu Ja'far Muhammad (A. H. 329); (2) the "Man la yastahdhirahu'l Faqih" of Shaikh 'Ali (A.H. 381); (3) the Tahzib of Shaikh Abu Ja'far Muhammad (A.H. 466); (4) the "Istibsar" of the same writer; and (5) the "Nahju'l Balaghat" of Sayyid Radhi (A.H. 406). Sayyid Ahmad and the Neo-Muslims of his party in India, who are known as the Naturals


or "Nechuris" (i.e. followers of Nature), show a desire1 to get rid of the traditions altogether; but in this respect they can no more be regarded as representatives of Muhammadan Orthodoxy than certain divines of the most extreme section of the Broad Church party in England, or even such men

1This is evident from the method in which Sayyid Ahmad, in his work already quoted, deals with tradition. Sayyid Amir 'Ali shows the same tendency still more strongly in his "Spirit of Islam."

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