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

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



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PREFACE.                                    5

They only possess your body, hut they have no j^ower over
your sold " (cf. St. Matt. x. i8, 19, 28 ; St. Luke xii. 4).
In these words the Messiah orders us to exercise moral
courage. For what the crowd calls courage—bravely
dashing into the fight or plunging into an abyss of de¬
struction—is only a species of courage, whilst the genus,
far above all species, is to scorn death, whether by word
or deed.

Now as justice (i.e. being just) is a quality liked and
coveted for its own self, for its intrinsic beauty, the
same applies to truthfulness, except perhaps in the case
of such people as never tasted how sweet it is, or know
the truth, but deliberately shun it, like a notorious liar
who once was asked if he had ever spoken the truth,
and gave the answer, "If I were not afraid to speak
the truth, I should say, no." A liar will avoid the path
of justice ; he will, as matter of preference, side with op¬
pression and false witness, breach of confidence, fraudu¬
lent appropriation of the wealth of others, theft, and all
the vices which serve to ruin the world and mankind.

When  I   once called upon  the   master   'Abu-Sahl    i- onthe

defects of

'Abd-Almun'im Ibn "Alt Ibn Nuh At-tiflisi, may God Muslim
strengthen him ! I found that he blamed the tendency of religious

1            1           p     ^       ^           111J-CM                       •                         and philoso-

the author of a book on theMu tazila sect to misrepresent phicai doc-
their theory.   For, according to them, God is omniscient    11. Exem-
of himself, and this dogma that author had expressed in regard to the
such a way as to say that God has no knowledge (like criticism of
the knowledge of man), thereby misleading uneducated Eranshahri.
people to imagine that, according to the Mu'tazilites, asked to
God is ignorant.    Praise be to God, who is far above all ontte'sub-
such and similar unworthy descriptions !    Thereupon I ^*^iv. He
pointed out to the master that precisely the same method Lethod"^
is much in fashion among those who undertake the task
of  giving an account of  religious and philosophical
systems from which they slightly differ or to which they
are entirely opposed.    Such misrepresentation is easily
detected in a report about dogmas comprehended within
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