Bīrūnī, Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad, Alberuni's India (v. 1)

(London :  Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co.,  1910.)



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PREFA CE.                                  xiii

sion of it, speaking : ' How should he come to rule over
us, as we have a better right to the rule than he ?'
But then they received (from God) an answer in the
event (lit. sign) which followed. God carried out His
promise relating to him (Mas'iid), giving him the inheri¬
tance without his asking for it, as He gave the inheri¬
tance of David to Solomon without reserve. (That is, the
dead King Mahmud had proclaimed as his successor his
son Muhammad, not Mas'ud, but the latter contested the
will of his father, and in the following contest with his
brother he was the winner.) If God had not chosen
him, the hearts of men would not have been gained (?)
for him, and the intrigues of his enemies would not
have missed their aim. In short, the souls of men
hastened to meet him in order to live under his shadow.
The order of God was an act of predestination, and his
becoming king was written in the Book of Books in
heaven (from all eternity).

"He—may God make his rule everlasting!—has
conferred upon me a favour which was a high distinc¬
tion to me, and has placed me under the obligation of
everlasting gratitude. For although a benefactor may
dispense with the thank-offerings for his deeds, &c., a
sound heart inspires those who receive them with the
fear that they might be lost (to general notice), and
lays upon them the obligation of spreading them and
making them known in the world. But already, before
I received this favour, I shared with the inhabitants of
all his countries the blessings of his rule, of peace and
justice. However, then the specicd service (towards
his Majesty) became incumbent upon me, after (until
that time) obeying in general (his Majesty) had been
incumbent on me. (This means, probably, that Mas'ud
conferred a special benefit (a pension ?) on the author,
not immediately after he had come to the throne, but
some time later.) Is it not he who has enabled me for
the rest of my life (Alberuni was then sixty-one years
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