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The Koran (Al-Qur'an)   By: (1697-1736)

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First Page:

THE KORAN:

COMMONLY CALLED THE

ALKORAN OF MOHAMMED.

Translated into English from the Original Arabic,

WITH EXPLANATORY NOTES TAKEN FROM THE MOST APPROVED COMMENTATORS.

TO WHICH IS PREFIXED

A PRELIMINARY DISCOURSE,

BY GEORGE SALE.

TO THE RIGHT HON. JOHN LORD CARTERET.

ONE OF THE LORDS OF HIS MAJESTY'S MOST HONOURABLE PRIVY COUNCIL.

MY LORD,

NOTWITHSTANDING the great honour and respect generally and deservedly paid to the memories of those who have founded states, or obliged a people by the institution of laws which have made them prosperous and considerable in the world, yet the legislator of the Arabs has been treated in so very different a manner by all who acknowledge not his claim to a divine mission, and by Christians especially, that were not your lordship's just discernment sufficiently known, I should think myself under a necessity of making an apology for presenting the following translation.

The remembrance of the calamities brought on so many nations by the conquests of the Arabians may possibly raise some indignation against him who formed them to empire; but this being equally applicable to all conquerors, could not, of itself, occasion all the detestation with which the name of Mohammed is loaded. He has given a new system of religion, which has had still greater success than the arms of his followers, and to establish this religion made use of an imposture; and on this account it is supposed that he must of necessity have been a most abandoned villain, and his memory is become infamous. But as Mohammed gave his Arabs the best religion he could, as well as the best laws, preferable. at least, to those of the ancient pagan lawgivers, I confess I cannot see why he deserves not equal respect though not with Moses or Jesus Christ, whose laws came really from Heaven, yet, with Minos or Numa, notwithstanding the distinction of a learned writer, who seems to think it a greater crime to make use of an imposture to set up a new religion, founded on the acknowledgment of one true God, and to destroy idolatry, than to use the same means to gain reception to rules and regulations for the more orderly practice of heathenism already established.

To be acquainted with the various laws and constitutions of civilized nations, especially of those who flourish in our own time, is, perhaps, the most useful part of knowledge: wherein though your lordship, who shines with so much distinction in the noblest assembly in the world, peculiarly excels; yet as the law of Mohammed, by reason of the odium it lies under, and the strangeness of the language in which it is written, has been so much neglected. I flatter myself some things in the following sheets may be new even to a person of your lordship's extensive learning; and if what I have written may be any way entertaining or acceptable to your lordship, I shall not regret the pains it has cost me.

I join with the general voice in wishing your lordship all the honour and happiness your known virtues and merit deserve, and am with perfect respect,

MY LORD, Your lordship's most humble And most obedient servant, GEORGE SALE.

A SKETCH

OF THE

LIFE OF GEORGE SALE.

OF the life of GEORGE SALE, a man of extensive learning, and considerable literary talent, very few particulars have been transmitted to us by his contemporaries. He is said to have been born in the county of Kent, and the time of his birth must have been not long previous to the close of the seventeenth century. His education he received at the King's School, Canterbury. Voltaire, who bestows high praise on the version of the Koran, asserts him to have spent five and twenty years in Arabia, and to have acquired in that country his profound knowledge of the Arabic language and customs. On what authority this is asserted it would now be fruitless to endeavour to ascertain. But that the assertion is an erroneous one, there can be no reason to doubt; it being opposed by the stubborn evidence of dates and facts... Continue reading book >>




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