Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)

Carlyle, a truly distinguished Scottish writer, historian and teacher

“The word this man spoke (the Koran) has been the life guidance now of a hundred and eighty millions of men these twelve hundred years. These hundred and eighty millions were made by God as well as we. A greater number of God’s creatures believe in Mahomet’s word at this hour than in any other word whatever. Are we to suppose that it was a miserable piece of spiritual legerdemain, this which so many creatures of the Almighty have lived by and died by? I, for my part, cannot form any such supposition. I will believe most things sooner than that. One would be entirely at a loss what to think of this world at all, if quackery so grew and were sanctioned here.”

“… If a book come from the heart, it will contrive to reach other hearts; all art and author-craft are of small amount to that. One would say the primary character of the Koran is this of its genuineness, of its being a bona-fide book.”

“Sincerity, in all senses, seems to me the merit of the Koran; what had rendered it precious to the wild Arab men. It is, after all, the first and last merit in a book; gives rise to merits of all kinds, — nay, at bottom, it alone can give rise to merit of any kind.”

Thomas Carlyle’s Collected Works, Volume XII, Heroes and Hero Worship, pg 53, 77; Chapman and Hall, London, 1869