|THE APOLOGY OF AL KINDY.
to a confusion, in the minds of some, between our Author and the famous Al Kindy ("Abu Yūsuf Ibn Ishāc"), "the Philosopher of Islam," who also flourished at the Court of Al Māmūn. I was led therefore to inquire carefully into the question of authorship.
The "Philosopher" was unquestionably a professed Mahometan, which at once dispels the notion that he could have had any hand in the Apology. But the Beni Kinda (whence the title Al Kindy, meaning a man of that tribe) formed a great clan of themselves, who, advancing from the south, spread over the centre and north of Arabia, and had, in the fifth and sixth centuries of the Christian era, a distinguished rōle in the history of the Peninsula.1 At the rise of Islam, though the greater part of the tribe, headed by the celebrated Al Ashāth, passed over to the faith of Mahomet, still a respectable minority appear to have continued their attachment to the Christian religion; and in the time of Al Māmūn, this remnant must have afforded ample numbers to produce other men of distinction bearing the tribal title of Al Kindy, besides the great Philosopher. That our Author belonged to such a branch of the Kinda race, there is no reasonable doubt. And the internal evidence (apart altogether from that supplied by the quotation from Al Bīrūni) affords the strongest presumption that the work is what it professes to be,namely, an Apology in
defence of the Christian religion in its polemical aspect, as opposed to the dominant Faith, at the Court of the Caliph Al Māmūn. The Preliminary Essay is designed to establish this.
Apart from its literary and historical interest, however, the Apology can well afford to stand, as a controversial work, upon its own apologetic merits. Notwithstanding a good deal that is weak and inconclusive in its reasoning, some things that are even questionable in fact, and abundance of censorious epithets against the Moslem, Jewish, and Magian faiths that might well have been materially softened, yet, taken as a whole, the argument is, from the Apologist's stand-point, conducted with wisdom and ability: while throughout it is characterised by a singular mastery of the Arabic language. The treatment of Islam is so trenchant that the circulation of the Apology could hardly be tolerated in any of the effete and bigoted Mahometan States of the present day. And, indeed, excepting the Motįzelite Caliphs, and perhaps also the great Akbar, I suppose there has been hardly a Mahometan government in any age which would not have considered it necessary to suppress a work so dangerous to Islam, by the severest pains and penalties.1 But as regards our own territories, the case is different. And certainly the appearance of an Apology written and