Sura ii. 25
Sura iii. 20.

Sura ii. 254.

Sura cix.
Sura xxix. 46.
children should commit such crimes; for He loveth not the transgressors. And then thou hast it revealed, in direct contradiction thereof,—'Let there be no constraint in religion.' And, again, 'Say unto those who have received the Scriptures, and to the Gentiles,—Do ye embrace Islam? Now, if they embrace it, they are surely guided aright; but, if they turn their backs, verily unto thee (O Prophet) belongeth delivery of the message only, for God observeth His servants.' And yet again, 'If the Lord had so willed, those who came after them (i.e. after Jesus and his Apostles) would not have contended among themselves, after manifest signs had been shown unto them. But they fell to variance. Some believed, and some believed not. And if God had so pleased, they had not so contended. But the Lord doeth so as it pleaseth Him.' And yet once more, addressing the Unbelievers (Kāfirs), thy Master is bidden to say, 'Ye have your religion, and I have mine.' And finally, 'Contend not with the People of the Book,1 but in the way that is most mild and gracious.' And then, in the teeth of it all, thou stirrest up thy people to attack mankind with the sword, to plunder them and lead them away captive, that they may be forced to embrace the faith by violence and against their will. Which of the two directions am I to follow, the first or the last?

1  That is, Jews and Christians.


One set of
by the other.
"Thou wilt say, then, that one of the two sets of texts is cancelled by the other. But which cancelleth, and which is cancelled that thou canst not show. Thou hast confessedly neither proof nor certain knowledge in this matter; and it may be that thou mistakest the one for the other. How are we to discriminate the true from the false, for the two sets of passages, both being in thy Book, are directly opposed the one to the other; and there is this risk that the one which thou regardest as true, and on which thou art bound to act, may be the one that is false and therefore to be abandoned; so that really each doth counteract the other, and neither can be the command of the Lord.

"And, now, say,—Hath it ever reached thine ears, or hast thou ever read in any book, sacred or profane, of a preacher, other than thy Master, imposing his creed by force, or summoning men to believe, against their conscience, by sword and threat, rapine and slavery? Even the abhorred Magians claim that inspiration descended on Zerdasht, at the hill Sailān, and that Kashtasaf and his people believed on seeing the miracle of the dead horse brought to life again, and that the twelve thousand volumes of the Zendavesta were revealed in every human tongue (which yet if ye ask the meaning thereof no one can tell it). After the same manner is the miracle of the Phoenix wrought by Bood in India, from the bowels of which a damsel issued, prophesying, and testifying that Bood Was a divine image, and his doctrine true. These