revealed in various copies of the Qur'an now extant consist almost wholly in the position of the dots which distinguish from one another 1 the letters ت, ي and ن , and these letters have no such diacritical marks in the old Cufic alphabet.

We are therefore led to the conclusion that we still have the Qur'an as Muhammad left it, and hence we may, with almost perfect certainty as to the correctness of the text, proceed to study the book in order to ascertain what he taught and whence he derived the various statements and doctrines which, contained in the Qur'an and explained and amplified in the Traditions, constitute the Religion of Islam.

In discussing the origin of Islam it is right in the first place to consider the statements on the subject which are made by the leading teachers and Doctors of the Law among the Muslims, and to inquire whether their opinions on this point are supported by the assertions of the Qur'an itself. We shall then proceed to investigate the question whether it is possible for us to accept these statements as the correct explanation of the facts of the case.

It is well known that the Ulama of Islam assert and have always asserted that the Qur'an is the Word of God Himself, which the Most High caused to be inscribed upon "the Preserved Tablet"

1 A few examples of such various readings occur in Surah VI., Al An'am, 91.

in Heaven, long ages before the creation of the world. Although in the reign of the Khalifah Al Ma'mun (A.H. 198-218 = A.D. 813-33) and afterwards there occurred many fierce disputes between those who held that the Qur'an was eternal and those who believed that it was created, into which discussion it is not necessary for us to enter, yet all Muslims have always agreed in holding that the book is not the composition of Muhammad or of any other human author. On the contrary, they believe that it is entirely the work of God Himself, and that Muhammad was merely His messenger in this respect, whose duty it was to receive the Divine book and communicate it to men. Tradition tells us that the book was brought down on one particular night 1 from the highest to the lowest heaven by the Archangel Gabriel, who afterwards gradually conveyed the verses and chapters to the mind and tongue of Muhammad. Accordingly there is nothing whatever that is human about the Qur'an: it is wholly and entirely of Divine origin.

That our readers may perceive that this is really the orthodox Muhammadan view of the matter, we here quote two passages on the subject from the well-known Arabic writer Ibn Khaldun. "Know therefore," he says 2, "that the Qur'an

1 Called the "Night of Power".
2 فاعلم أن القرآن نزل بلغة العرب وعلى أساليب بلاغتهم وكانوا كلهم يفهمونه ويعلمون معانيه فى مفرداته وتراكيبه وكان ينزل جملاً.