"Seven Readings" (سبعة احرف) prevalent even in Muhammad's time points in the same direction. Muhammadans assure us that these were merely differences in pronunciation, but this may well be doubted, for in the same book Muslim tells us that 'Umar bin al Khattab was so much offended at the way in which Hisham bin Hakim recited Surah XXV., Al Furqan, that he took him by the cloak and brought him to Muhammad to complain of it. After hearing both men repeat the Surah, Muhammad declared that both were right, and asserted that the "Seven Readings" were all alike admissible! But according to Nisai, certain words (letters, حروف) occurred in Hisham’s version which were not in what others professed to have learned from Muhammad. Ubai is represented by Nisai as saying that the fact that others repeated verses in a form different from that in which he had learnt them gave him quite a shock.] If our leading men had burnt all the ancient MSS. of the Bible and compelled all copies to be made from one which they had caused to be written, we too should have but few varied readings in our Bible, but all men of learning would feel that no reliance whatever was to be placed upon the text thus produced1.

1 The Bishop of Lahore writes: "I used to find the following illustration effective:—Suppose a master dictates a piece of prose to ten scholars. Probably in each copy there will be one or more mistakes. But these are easily corrected by comparison with the other copies, since the same mistake will not be made by many. If, however, all copies are destroyed but one, there
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34. [M. Doubtless it is because of these various readings and passages of uncertain authenticity that many learned men in Germany and England at the present day assert that the Pentateuch was not written by Moses, and that much of the Old Testament and even of the New is untrue. You must convince them to the contrary before you can convince us.

[C. Not so. The Higher Critics, as they are called, do not base their arguments upon the various readings, for they know that no single doctrine of the Bible is at all affected by them. You will find on inquiry that the extreme conclusions you refer to are largely based upon a principle which denies both miracle and prophecy 1. They thus attack the very foundation of belief in all revealed religion. You Muslims cannot really adduce these men's objections without accepting their

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will be no admitted various readings, for no standard of comparison exists: at the same time all proof of accuracy is gone. So we see that, the larger is the number of copies preserved, the larger will be the number of various readings, yet the greater the certainty as to the text, though this seems a paradox!"
1 So Delitzsch (Commentary on Isaiah, vol. I, pp. 60 and 61: Edinburgh, 1881), and Dr Payne Smith (Bampton Lectures, Preface, pp. xiii, sqq.) Of course I do not accuse all who have in any measure accepted the conclusions of the Higher Criticism of consciously denying both miracle and prophecy. But this denial is certainly implied in the writings of Wellhausen and Cheyne, to mention only two of the leading exponents of this system.