(and subsequently depraved by Hajjāj),1 —Ali, Obey ibn Kįb, and Ibn Masūd, had each their separate exemplars. Having been compiled, if not in part composed, by different hands, and thrown unsystematically together, the text is alleged to be in consequence full of contradictions, incoherencies, and senseless passages. A great deal of this section was, no doubt, very similar to the kind of arguments held, though, of course, in less irreverential language, by the rationalistic Motįzelites of the day, and favoured by Al Māmūn. For we know that it was after a hot and prolonged discussion that the Coran was proclaimed by Al Māmūn to be created. It is therefore altogether in accord with the probabilities of the case that this particular phase of the argument should have been (as we actually find it) treated by our Author at great length and with a profusion of tradition possessing little authority, although popular in that day,—a kind of rank mushroom growth springing out of Abbasside faction and forced by its success. The tables were soon turned on this free-thinking generation, who in their turn suffered severe persecution; and never before or afterwards did such an opportunity occur, as our Apologist enjoyed, under the very shadow of

1  The action of Al Hajjij (who has been sufficiently misrepresented and abused by the Abbasside faction) appears to have been mainly confined to certain additions in the way of diacritical marks. See Slane’s "Ibn Khallikān," vol. i. p. 359, and note 14, p. 364. But it was natural, at an Abbasside Court, to vilify that great, but stern and cruel, Viceroy of the Omeyyads.


a Caliph’s court, to argue out his case with his enemy’s weapons ready to his hand.

Al Kindy makes a strong point of the hypocrisy of the Jews and Bedouins who lived at the rise of Islam, their superficial conversion, and the sordid and worldly motives by which, when the great Apostacy followed immediately on the Prophet's death, they were brought back to Islam, “some by fear and the sword, some tempted by power and wealth, others drawn by the lusts and pleasures of this life.” It was just the same, he said, with the Jews and Magians of the present day. And to make good his point he proceeds to quote from a speech of the Caliph, made in one of the assemblies which he was in the habit of holding. The passage is so remarkable, and so illustrative of the character of Al Māmūn, that, at the risk of lengthening my paper, I give it here in full:—

And I doubt not but (the Lord bless thee, my Friend!) thou rememberest that which passed at an assembly of the Commander of the Faithful, to whom it had been related in respect of one of his Courtiers that, though outwardly a Moslem, he was at heart a reprobate Magian: whereupon the Caliph delivered himself (as I have been informed) in the following terms:—

"By the Lord! I well know that one and another (and here the Caliph named a whole company of his Councillors), though professing Islam, are really free from the same; they do it to be seen of me ; while their convictions, I am well aware, are just the opposite of that which they profess. They belong to a class who embrace Islam, not from any love of this our religion, but thinking thereby to gain