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

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



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In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the     Pages.

No one will deny that in questions of historic authen- i. on tra-
ticity hearsay does not equal eye-witness ; for in the latter say and eye-
the eye of the observer apprehends the substance of that ^^"Tifedif-
which is observed, both in the time when and in the oTreportert!
place where it exists, whilst hearsay has.its peculiar of^truthftfi-
drawbacks. But for these, it would even be preferable
to eye-witness ; for the object of eye-witness can only be
actual momentary existence, whilst hearsay comprehends
alike the present, the past, and the future, so as to apply
in a certain sense both to that which is and to that
which is not (i.e. which either has ceased to exist or
has not yet come into existence). Written tradition
is one of the species of hearsay—we might almost say,
the most preferable. How could we know the history
of nations but for the everlasting monuments of the

The tradition regarding an event which in itself does
not contradict either logical or physical laws will invari¬
ably depend for its character as true or false upon the
character of the reporters, who are influenced by the
divergency of interests and all kinds of animosities
and antipathies between the various nations. We must
distinguish different classes of reporters.

One of them tells a lie, as intending to further an
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