Another Muslim Swearing on Thomas Jefferson’s Quran
by Louis Palme
Newly elected Muslim Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib no doubt believes she is connecting with Islam’s long history in the U.S. by taking her oath of office on Thomas Jefferson’s copy of the Quran. Actually, this stunt is a reminder that the relationship of Islam to the U.S. has been, from the beginning, that of warfare, kidnapping, and tribute. America’s first war was against the Barbary Pirates on the shores of Tripoli. Over a 15 year period back then, ten percent of our federal budget went to pay tribute (jizyah) to ward off Muslim pirates. The only reason President Jefferson had a copy of the Quran was to understand the enemy and why they believed that “all nations who should not have answered [Islam’s] authority were sinners.” In fact, Jefferson’s Quran is an unabashed condemnation of that evil cult.
The Quran that Jefferson had in his library is a translation by George Sale, first published in 1734. Jefferson’s copy was a two volume edition published in London in 1764. By chance, I was able to buy later edition of this Quran which included the 145 page “Preliminary Discourse” found in all editions. Had Rashida Tlaib or her Congressional predecessor, Keith Ellison, read this introduction, they would never hold up this particular Quran as evidence of our Founding Fathers’ respect for Islam. Here are some excerpts:
To the Reader:
I imagine it almost needless to make an apology for publishing the following translation, or to go about to prove it a work of use as well as curiosity. He must have a mean opinion of the Christian religion, or be but ill grounded therein, who can apprehend any danger from so manifest a forgery. . . .But whatever use an impartial version of the Quran may be of in other respects, it is absolutely necessary to undeceive those who, from the ignorant or unfair translations which have appeared, have entertained too favourable an opinion of the original, and also to enable us effectually to expose the imposture. . . . [Because Catholic translators and writers attempt to defend their own idolatry and other superstitions causing Muslims to be more adverse to Christians in general,] the Protestants alone are able to attack the Quran with success; and for them, I trust, Providence has reserved the glory of its overthrow. . . .I have not, in speaking of Mohammed or his Quran, allowed myself to use those opprobrious appellations, and unmannerly expressions, which seem to be the strongest arguments of several who have written against them, . . for how criminal soever Mohammed may have been in imposing a false religion on mankind, the praise due to his real virtues ought not to be denied him.
As the Arabs have their excellencies [such as hospitality], so have they, like other nations their defects and vices. Their own writers acknowledge that they have a natural disposition to war, bloodshed, cruelty, and rapine, being so much addicted to bear malice that they scarce ever forget an old grudge . . . The frequent robberies committed by these people on merchants and travelers have rendered the name of an Arab almost infamous in Europe; this they are sensible of, and endeavour to excuse themselves by alleging the hard usage of their father Ismael, who, being turned out of doors by Abraham, had the open plains and deserts given to him by God for his patrimony, with permission to take whatever he could find there; and on this account they think they may, with safe conscience, indemnify themselves as well as they can, not only on the posterity of Isaac, but also on anybody else, always supposing a sort of kindred between themselves and those they plunder. [See Genesis 16:12 for Biblical reference.] And in relating their adventures of this kind, they think it sufficient to change the expressions, and instead of “I robbed a man of such or such a thing,” to say, “I gained it.” We must not, however, imagine that they are the less honest for this among themselves, or towards those whom they receive as friends; on the contrary, the strictest probity is observed in their camp, where everything is open and nothing ever known to be stolen.
Regarding Jews and Christians:
The Jews . . in Arabia . . fled from the destruction of Jerusalem and grew very powerful, several tribes and princes embracing their religion; which made Mohammed at first show great regard to them, adopting many of their opinions, doctrines, and customs; thereby to draw them, if possible, into his interest. But that people . . . were so far from being his proselytes, that they were some of the bitterest enemies he had, waging continual war with him, so that their reduction cost him infinite trouble and danger, and at last his life. This aversion of theirs created at length as great a one in him to them, so that he used them, for the latter part of his life, much worse than he did the Christians, and frequently exclaims against them in his Quran; his followers to this day observe the same difference between them and the Christians, treating the former as the most abject and contemptible people on earth. [See Quran 8:55]
It is scarce to be doubted but that Mohammed had a violent desire of being reckoned an extraordinary person, which he could attain to by no means more effectively, than by pretending to be a messenger sent from God, to inform mankind of his will. The scheme of religion which Mohammed framed, and the design and artful contrivance of those written revelations (as he pretended them to be) which compose his Quran, shall be the subject of the following sections. . . . It is certainly one of the most convincing proofs that Mohammedism was no other than a human invention, that it owed its progress and establishment almost entirely to the sword; and it is one of the strongest demonstrations of the divine original of Christianity, that it prevailed against all the force and powers of the world by the mere dint of its own truth, after having stood the assaults of all manner of persecutions, as well as other oppositions, for 300 years together and at length made the Roman emperors themselves submit thereto; after which time, indeed, this proof seems to fail . . .
The style of the Quran is generally beautiful and fluent, especially where it imitates the prophetic manner and scripture phrases. He must have a very bad ear who is not uncommonly moved with the very cadence of a well-turned sentence; and Mohammed seems not to have been ignorant of the enthusiastic operation of rhetoric on the minds of men; for which reason he has not only employed his utmost skill in these his pretended revelations, to preserve that dignity and sublimity of style, which might seem not unworthy of the majesty of that Being, whom he gave out to be the author of them; and to imitate the prophetic manner of the Old Testament; he has not neglected even the other arts of oratory; wherein he succeeded so well, and so strangely captivated the minds of his audience, that several of his opponents thought it the effect of witchcraft and enchantment, as he sometimes complains. . . . That Mohammed was really the author and chief contriver of the Quran is beyond dispute. . . . However it be, the Mohammedans absolutely deny the Quran was composed by their prophet himself; that it is eternal and uncreated, that the first transcript has been from everlasting by God’s throne, written on a table of vast bigness.
Women and Paradise:
But all the glories [of Paradise] will be eclipsed by the resplendent and ravishing girls of paradise, called, from their large black eyes, Hur al oyun, the enjoyment of whose company will be a principal felicity of the faithful. . . . [T]he very meanest in paradise will have eighty thousand servants, seventy-two wives of the girls of paradise, besides the wives he had in this world, and a tent erected for him of pearls, jacinths, and emeralds, of a very large extent; and, according to another tradition, will be waited on by three hundred attendants while he eats, will be served in dishes of gold, whereof three hundred shall be set before him at once, containing each a different kind of food . . . [T]here will be no want of wine, which, though forbidden in this life, will yet be freely allowed to be drunk in the next, and without danger, since the wine of paradise will not inebriate, as that we drink here. . . . .[T]he inhabitants of paradise will not need to ease themselves, nor even to blow their nose, for that all superfluities will be discharged and carried off by perspiration, or a sweat as odoriferous as musk, after which their appetite shall return afresh.
Before we quit this subject it may not be improper to observe the falsehood of a vulgar imputation on the Mohammedans, who are by several writers reported to hold that women have no souls, or, if they have, that they will perish, like those of brute beasts, and will not be rewarded in the next life. In an answer returned to an old women, who, desiring him to intercede with God that she might be admitted into paradise, [Mohammed] told her that no old woman would enter that place; which setting the poor woman a-crying, he explained himself by saying that God would then make her young again.
The pilgrimage to Mecca is so necessary a point of practice that, according to a tradition of Mohammed, he who dies without performing it, may as well die a Jew or a Christian, and the same is expressly commanded in the Quran. The [pilgrimage] ceremonies, by the confession of the Mohammedans themselves, were almost all of them observed by the pagan Arabs many ages before their prophet’s appearance; and particularly the compassing of the Kabah, the running between Safa and Merwa, and the throwing of the stones in Mina, and were confirmed by Mohammed, with some alteration in such points as seemed most exceptional: thus, for example, he ordered that when they compassed the Kabah they should be clothed; whereas, before his time, they performed that piece of devotion naked, throwing off their clothes as a mark that they had cast off their sins. . . It is also acknowledged that the greater part of these rites are of no intrinsic worth, neither affecting the soul, nor agreeing with natural reason, but altogether arbitrary, and commanded merely to try the obedience of mankind, without any further view; and are therefore to be complied with; not that they are good in themselves, but because God has so appointed. The pilgrimage to Mecca, and the ceremonies prescribed to those who perform it, are, perhaps, liable to greater exception than other of Mohammed’s institutions; not only as silly and ridiculous in themselves, but as relics of idolatrous superstition.
The temple of Mecca was held in excessive veneration by all the Arabs . . . and especially those of Mecca. . . .[A]s the most silly and insignificant things are generally the objects of the greatest superstition, Mohammed found it much easier to abolish idolatry itself, than to eradicate the superstitious bigotry with which they were addicted to that temple, and the rites performed there. . . .
My advice to Rashida Tlaib and other Muslims who would like to believe that Islam is part of America’s heritage is that they read up on American history – particularly, the Barbary Wars in the early 1800’s, the Muslim Moro Wars in the Philippines in the early 1900’s, the 9/11/01 Muslim terror attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., and the subsequent military action against Muslim-majority nations and would-be caliphates like ISIS. Yes, the United States has had a long history with Islam, and most of it is due to Islamic hostility and terrorism.