Bīrūnī, Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad, Alberuni's India (v. 2)

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



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  Page 252  

252                             ALBERUNTS INDIA.

the orthodox faith, against Brahmins,  Christians, Jews,
and Magians (v. ib. p. 68).

Our information regarding the ancient literature on the
history of religion and philosophy (the latter proceeding
from a work of the Neoplatonist Porphyrins) is very
scanty, and mostly limited to titles of books. The work
of Shahrastani (died A.D. 1153) is a late compendium or
j.«.3:i.i.^» (v. his pref., i. 8). His editor, Cureton, intended to
give " Observations respecting the sources from which this
author has probably derived his information" (English
pref., p. iv.), but, as far as I am aware, he has not carried
out his intention. There is an excellent treatise on the
history of religions in the Fihrist of Al-nadim (composed
about A.D. 987) on p. TiA—foi. The same author mentions
(P- ivv) an older work on doctrines and religions by
Alhasan Ibn Miisa Alnaubakhti (mentioned by Mas'udi),
who also wrote against metempsychosis. Parts of a simi¬
lar work of Ibn Hazm, an Arab of Spain (died A.D. 1064),
are extant in the libraries of Vienna and Ley den. Mr.
C. Schefer has recently published in his Chrestomathie
Persctne, Paris, 1883, a useful little book in Persian called

^jIjj!J1 (^L; (__>',:;i J composed by Abul-Ma'aliMuhammad Ibn

'Ukail, who wrote in Ghazna, under the king Mas'ud Ibn
Ibrahim (a.d. 1089-1099), half a century after Alberuni,

whose Indicet he quotes in his book.   He calls it j.i^\ .c^ ,T,

i.e. "The Doctrines of the Hindus" (p-iTA). Two more
treatises in Persian on the history of religions are men¬
tioned by C Schefer, Ghrestomathie Persane, pp. 136, 137.
An author who seems to have written on subjects con¬
nected with the history of religions is one Abii-Ya'kub of
Sijistan, as Alberuni (i. 64-65) quotes his theory on the
metempsychosis from a book of his, called I<Citdb-kashf-

Pp. O-y. AUrdnshahri ctnd Zurkdn.—Our author has
not made any use of the Muhammadan literature on the
belief of the Hindus, as far as such existed before his
time ; evidently he did not give it the credit of a bond fide
source of historical information. Throughout his book
he derives his statements exclusively either from Indian
books or from what he had heard himself.    He makes an
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