|THE APOLOGY OF AL KINDY.
Our Apologist here reminds his Friend that the Arabic tongue was the joint inheritance equally of them both, being derived from their common ancestor Yárob, the great-grandson of Ishmael. Here they stood on the same ground; and in the ability to judge of its beauties and defects, his Friend had no advantage over him. It was, moreover, a vain and deceptive test as addressed to strange nations; for when the Coran was delivered to them, these could not understand it, but were obliged to take the same on trust, unable in their ignorance to judge of the language. The Arabs of the desert alone spoke the language in its purity. Such as lived in cities, by intercourse with foreigners soon lost the simplicity of their mother tongue, and were incapable of passing any judgment upon it. His Friend might reply that the Coreish were themselves the most eloquent of the Arabs and skilful in the language, and that they were consequently in the very best position to press the argument of the superhuman beauty of the Coran; which Al Kindy answers by a characteristic declamation on the superiority, in its speech as well as noble antecedents, of his own ancestry. "Thou wilt not deny that when thy Master sought the hand of Muleika, daughter of Nomân Al Kindy, she answered, What, shall Muleika marry into a race of merchantmen? Thou knowest well that the Coreish were the traders of Arabia, and the Beni Kinda its Princes. I do not say this vaunting my own descent over thine; but simply to remind thee that the Beni Kinda were the chiefest among the Arabs in elo-
|INDUCEMENTS TO THE SPREAD OF ISLAM.
quence, and in the beauty of their language, whether of rhetoric or poetry. Their Kings, foremost in the land, led the armies of Arabia; and so great was their fame that the Persians and Romans were proud to seek their daughters in marriage. At the same time all the world must admit the glory of the Coreish; and especially of the Beni Hâshim; and, indeed, the same applieth to the whole Arab race, whom the Lord hath distinguished by their noble qualities over all the nations upon earth."
Reverting once more to the admission of solecisms into the Coran, it might be urged in reply that the Arabic language was embodied in its poetry; that its vocabulary, drawn from that source' was limited thereby, and that the word (e.g.) for carpets (namârick) was unknown. True, our Apologist replies; but that arose from the simplicity of the Arab race, who were innocent of the luxuries and refinements of artificial living. In process of time, the language became depraved by foreign words; and in this mongrel tongue people began to make verses, which so aped the ancient poetry of the Peninsula, that it was difficult to distinguish the real from the counterfeit. Nowadays even learned rhetoricians mistook the spurious for the genuine. The grace and freshness of the tongue, as well as its capacity for carrying on the business of life, had so popularised Arabic, that foreign ideas, and metaphors strange to artless Arab life, were clothed in language claiming to be cast in the ancient mould. And so any one now wrote poetry in the ancient form, and sought thereby courtly favour and