|THE APOLOGY OF AL KINDY.
access to my Court, and share in the honour, wealth, and power of the Realm; they have no inward persuasion of that which they outwardly profess. Truly their case, to my mind, resembleth the too common one of the Jews, who, when Islam was promulgated, held by the Tourāt and the Law of Moses. And, indeed, I know of one and another (here the Caliph named a whole band of his Courtiers) who were Christians, and embraced Islam unwillingly. They are neither Moslems nor Christians, but impostors. And how shall I deal with all these, seeing that the curse of God is upon them all? When others of them abandoned the Magian religion (the vilest and most abominable of all religions), it was incumbent on these to have held firmly by the new religion which they embraced, instead of by that which they left only in appearance and hypocrisy; and so likewise, with those who abandoned the Christian faith (the most amenable of all religions to the effulgence of Islam and the truth of its creed). But herein I have the example and precedent of the Prophet (on whom be blessing!1). For there were many of his Companions, and familiars, and near of kin who professed to follow him and be his helpers; whilst he (on whom be blessing!) knew well enough that they were all the time hypocrites, opposed at heart to what they outwardly professed. These ceased not to study evil, and to plot, to seek his fall, and to assist the Idolaters against him; insomuch that a company of them lay in wait at a certain pass to affright his mule, so that it might throw him, and he be killed. But the Lord delivered and protected him from their snares, and the evil they thought to visit him with. Not-
|ITS AGE AND AUTHORSHIP.
withstanding, he intreated them courteously to the end, even until the Lord took his spirit unto himself. Thus he guarded himself by kindness and courtesy against their machinations. Wherefore, it well becometh me that I should follow his example. Then after his death they all apostatised, seeking both outwardly and in their hearts, both in secret and in public, to scatter Islam and destroy the empire; until, at the last, the Lord helped the same, and healed the schisms; and that He did by casting into the hearts of certain amongst them the lust of empire and love of the world; and so the government was strengthened, and the divisions reconciled, by means of kindness and forbearance. Thus the Lord fulfilled that which He hath fulfilled for us; and herein, no thanks or praise to any but to the Lord alone! Now, therefore, I will no more make mention of that which I have seen and heard in respect of these my Courtiers; but I shall treat them with courtesy and forbearance until the Lord decide between us, and 'he is the best of all deciders.'"1
Now unless my lord, the Commander of the Faithful, had spoken thus openly in the ears of the nobles at his Council (the Lord exalt the same!), and the tidings thereof had spread, and the present ones had told the absent ones, I had not ventured to make mention of it here. Thou art witness that I have not added one thing thereto. And I only remind thee now (for no long time hath elapsed) of that which passed at this assembly, in order to bring up clearly the subject of the great Apostacy, and to show that the people were not reconverted therefrom unto Islam, but through love of the world, and to build up this Empire under which they now live. In proof thereof, if the Lord will, this answer will suffice for