The text introduced and translated below represents a fragment from the narration and proceedings of an interreligious polemical festival known as “The Festival of Deciding (or Recognizing) the (True) God” (Melah-e Ḳhudā-shināsī) that was held for two consecutive years in 1875 and 1876 in the village of Chandāpūr in the Shāhjahānpūr district of the United Provinces (UP). More specifically, the translation below presents the discourses of the leading Muslim scholar who participated at this event also featuring major Hindu scholars and Christian missionaries, Muḥammad Qāsim Nānautvī (d. 1877), one of the founders of the prestigious Islamic seminary the Deoband Madrasa, on the questions of prophetic miracles and the normative status of Hindu avatars in Islam. Nānautvī’s discourse on these issues showcases an excellent example of the confluence of Muslim traditionalism and resoundingly modern logics of religion and history.
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