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

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



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PREFA CE.                                    7

of the contents of both the Thora and the Gospel.
Besides, he furnishes us with a most excellent account
of the Manichgeans, and of obsolete religions of bygone
times which are mentioned in their books. But when
he came in his book to speak of the Hindus and the
Buddhists, his arrow missed the mark, and in the latter
part he went astray through hitting upon the book of
Zarkdn, the contents of which he incorporated in his
own work. That, however, which he has not taken
from Zarkdn, he himself has heard from common people
among Hindus and Buddhists.

At a subsequent period the master 'Abu-Sahl studied
the books in question a second time, and when he found
the matter exactly as I have here described it, he incited
me to write down what I know about the Hindus as a
help to those who want to discuss religious questions
with them, and as a repertory of information to those
who want to associate with them. In order to please
him I have done so, and written this book on the
doctrines of the Hindus, never making any unfounded
imputations against those, our religious antagonists, and
at the same time not considering it inconsistent with
my duties as a Muslim to quote their own words at full
length when I thought they would contribute to eluci¬
date a subject. If the contents of these quotations
happen to be utterly heathenish, and the followers of the
truth, i.e. the Muslims, find them objectionable, we can
only say that such is the belief of the Hindus, and that
they themselves are best qualified to defend it.

This book is not a polemical one. I shall not produce
the arguments of our antagonists in order to refute such
of them as I believe to be in the wrong. My book is
nothing but a simple historic record of facts. I shall
place before the reader the theories of the Hindus
exactly as they are, and I shall mention in connection
with them similar theories of the Greeks in order to
show the relationship existing between them.    For the
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