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

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



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38                         ALBERUNPS INDIA.

apply the term being god, grammatically a term like
hei7ig king, to the angels, to the souls invested with
divine power (v. p. 34); by way of comparison, also,
to the images which were made to represent the bodies
of those beings; lastly, metaphorically, to kings and to
other great men.

Passing from the word God to those of father and
son, we must state that Islam is not liberal in the use of
them; for in Arabic the word son means nearly always
as much as a child in the natural order of things, and
from the ideas involved in parentage and birth can
never be derived any expression meaning the Eternal
Lord of creation. Other languages, however, take much
more liberty in this respect; so that if people address a
man by father, it is nearly the same as if they addressed
him by sir. As is well known, phrases of this kind
have become so prevalent among the Christians, that
anybody who does not always use the words father and
son in addressing people would scarcely be considered
as one of them. By the son they understand most
especially Jesus, but apply it also to others besides
him. It is Jesus who orders his disciples to say in
prayer, "0 our father which art in heaven" (St.
Matt. vi. 9); and informing them of his approaching
death, he says that he is going to his father and to
their father (St. John xx. 17). In most of his speeches
he explains the word the son as meaning himself, that
he is the son of man.

Besides the Christians, the Jews too use similar ex-
Page 19. pressions; for the 2d Book of Kings relates that God
consoled David for the loss of his son, who had been
borne to him by the wife of Uriah, and promised him
another son from her, whom he would adopt as his
own son (i Chron. xxii. 9, 10). If the use of the
Hebrew language admits that Salomo is by adoption a
son of God, it is admissible that he who adopted was a
father, viz. God.
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