|THE APOLOGY OF AL KINDY.
friend, and judge, whether those stories which thy people tell are to be found at all in the book of the Coran; if there be any mention of them, or any trace, therein, then, by my life! I will confess that it is true, and that thy Master did the same. Otherwise he is absolved from these fictions, and they are groundless lying tales for which he is not in any wise responsible.
"Of the same kind, but much worse is the tradition regarding thy Master's obsequies. He desired (so the story runs) that he should not be buried for three days, expecting that the Lord would raise him to Heaven even as He raised our Saviour Christ, because he was too honourable to be left longer upon the earth. So after he died they refrained till the fourth day, when, forced by the progress of decay, they buried him.1
"After his decease, there remained not one of thy Master's followers that did not apostatise, saving only a small company of his Companions and kinsfolk, who were ambitious of succeeding to the government. Here Abu Bekr displayed marvellous skill, energy, and address, so that the power fell into his hands. Aly was exceedingly angry thereat; and people resorted
of the Arabs
to him, not doubting that he would succeed to the Caliphate; but the reins were snatched from his hands, from love of the world and lust of power.1 And so Abu Bekr persevered, until the apostate tribes were all brought back to their allegiance, some by kindly treatment, persuasion, and craft, some through fear and terror of the sword, and others by the prospect of power and wealth and the lusts and pleasures of this life. And so it came to pass that they were all in the end converted outwardly, and not from inward conviction."
To establish this point, our Apologist quotes a speech delivered at an assembly of his courtiers by the Caliph (Al Māmūn) in which he likens the hypocritical conversion of the Magians, Jews, and Christians of his own day, to that of the Jews and hypocrites in the time of Mahomet, and justifies his own forbearance by the Prophet's example, and the worldly inducements by which the apostates were reclaimed?2
The objection is here anticipated that if Moses and Joshua attacked and slew the Canaanites, took their families captive, and ravaged their land, similar acts should not be charged against Mahomet as a fault. But the slaughter of the Canaanites, Al
to the sword