Page:Alchemyofhappiness en.djvu/17

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9
Introduction.

tinople. As no books are allowed to be printed there which have not passed under the eyes of the censor, the doctrines presented in the book indicate, not only the opinions of eight hundred years since, but also what views are regarded as orthodox, or tolerated among the orthodox at the present day. It has been printed also in Persian at Calcutta.

In form, the book contains a treatise on practical piety, but as is the case with a large proportion of Mohammedan works, the author, whatever may be his subject, finds a place for observations reaching far wide of his apparent aim, so our author is led to make many observations which develop his notions in anatomy, physiology, natural philosophy and natural religion. The partisans of all sorts of opinions will be interested in finding that a Mohammedan author writing so long since in the centre of Asia, had occasion to approve or condemn so many truths, speculations or fancies which are now current among us with the reputation of novelty. Many of the same paradoxes and problems that startle or fascinate in the nineteenth century are here discussed. He came in contact, among his contemporaries, with persons who made the same general objections to natural and revealed religion, as understood by Mohammedans, as are in our days made to Christianity, or who perverted and abused the religion which they professed for their own ends, in the same manner as Christianity is abused among us. And he engaged with earnestness now truthfully, and now erroneously, in refuting these men. His usual stand-point in discussion is equally removed from the most extravagant mysticism, and literal and formal orthodoxy. He attempts a dignified blending of rea-