Sale Translation Translated Into English
From The Original Arabic
THERE is surely no need to-day to insist on the importance of a close study of the Koran for all who would comprehend the many vital problems connected with the Islamic World; and yet few of us, I imagine, among the many who possess translations of this book have been at pains to read it through. It must, however, be borne in mind that the Koran plays a far greater role among the Muhammadans than does the Bible in Christianity in that it provides not only the canon of their faith, but also the textbook of their ritual and the principles of their Civil Law.
It was the Great Crusades that first brought the West into close touch with Islam, but between the years 1096 and 1270 we only hear of one attempt to make known to Europe the Sacred Book of the Moslems, namely, the Latin version made in 1143, by Robert of Retina (who, Sale tells us, was an Englishman) , and Hermann of Dalmatia, on the initiative of Petrus Venerabilis, the Abbot of Clugny, which version was ultimately printed by T. Bibliander in Basel in 1543, nearly a hundred years after the fall of Constantinople.
During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, several translations appeared both in Latin and in French, and one of the latter, by Andre du Ryer, was translated into English by Alexander Ross in 1649. But by far the most important work on the Koran was that of Luigi Marracci which was published in Padua in 1698. George Sale's translation first appeared in November, 1734, in a quarto volume; in 1764 it was first printed in medium octavo, and the reprint of 1825 contained the sketch of Sale's life by Richard Alfred Davenant which has been utilized in the article on Sale in the Dictionary of National Bibliography. The Chandos Classics edition in crown octavo was first issued in 1877.
Soon after the death of the Prophet, early Muhammadan theologians began to discuss, not only the correct reading of the text itself, but also to work out on the basis of first-hand reports the story connected with the revelation of each chapter. As the book at present stands in its original form the chapters are arranged more or less according to their respective length, beginning with the longest; except in the case of the opening chapter, which holds a place by itself, not only in the sacred book of Islam, corresponding as it does in a manner to our Pater Noster, but also in its important ceremonial usages. The presumed order in which the various chapters were revealed is given in the tabular list of Contents, but it may be mentioned that neither Muhammadan theologians, nor, in more recent times, European scholars, are in entire agreement upon the exact chronological position of all the chapters.
It is well for all who study the Koran to realize that the actual text is never the composition of the Prophet, but is the word of God addressed to the Prophet; and that in quoting the Koran the formula is "He (may he be exalted) said" or some such phrase. The Prophet himself is of course quoted by Muhammadan theologians, but such quotations refer to his traditional sayings known as "Hadis," which have been handed down from mouth to mouth with the strictest regard to genealogical continuity.
It would probably be impossible for any Arabic scholar to produce a translation of the Koran which would defy criticism, but this much may be said of Sale's version: just as, when it first appeared, it had no rival in the field, it may be fairly claimed to-day that it has been superseded by no subsequent translations. Equally remarkable with his translation is the famous Preliminary Discourse which constitutes a tour de force when we consider how little critical work had been done in his day in the field of Islamic research. Practically the only works of first-class importance were Dr. Pocock's Specimen Historio Arabum, to which, in his original Address to the Reader, Sale acknowledges his great indebtedness, and Maracci's Koran.
In spite of the vast number of eminent scholars who have worked in the same field since the days of George Sale, his Preliminary Discourse still remains the best Introduction in any European language to the study of the religion promulgated by the Prophet of Arabia; but as Wherry says: "Whilst reading the Preliminary Discourse as a most masterly, and on the whole reliable, presentation of the peculiar doctrines, rites, ceremonies, customs, and institutions of Islam, we recognize the fact that modern research has brought to light many things concerning the history of the ancient Arabs which greatly modify the statements made in the early paragraphs."
For many centuries the acquaintance which the majority of Europeans possessed of Muhammadanism was based almost entirely on distorted reports of fanatical Christians which led to the dissemination of a multitude of gross calumnies. What was good in Muhammadanism was entirely ignored, and what was not good, in the eyes of Europe, was exaggerated or misinterpreted.
It must not, however, be forgotten that the central doctrine preached by Muhammad to his contemporaries in Arabia, who worshipped the Stars; to the Persians, who acknowledged Ormuz and Ahriman; the Indians, who worshipped idols; and the Turks, who had no particular worship, was the unity of God, and that the simplicity of his creed was probably a more potent factor in the spread of Islam than the sword of the Ghazis.
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The first part-The Jew-has a somewhat curious history. Burton collected most of the materials for writing it from 1869 to 1871, when he was Consul at Damascus. His intimate knowledge of Eastern races and languages, and his sympathy with Oriental habits and lines of thought, gave him exceptional facilities for ethnological studies of this kind. Disguised as a native, and unknown to any living soul except his wife, the British Consul mingled freely with the motley populations of Damascus, and inspected every quarter of the city-Muslim, Christian, and Jewish. His inquiries bore fruit in material, not only for this general essay on the Jew, but for an Appendix dealing with the alleged rite of Human Sacrifice among the Sephardím or Eastern Jews.
The ethnologist and the student of general history are urgently invited to consider the annals and the physical and intellectual aspects of the children of Israel, perhaps the most interesting subject that can occupy their attention. The Jew, like the Gypsy, stands alone, isolated by character, if not by blessing. Traditionally, or rather according to its own tradition, the oldest family on earth, it is at the same time that which possesses the most abundant vitality. Its indestructible and irrepressible life power enables this nation without a country to maintain an undying nationality and to nourish a sentiment of caste with a strength and a pertinacity unparalleled in the annals of patriotism.
The people that drove the Jews from Judæa, the empires which effaced the kingdoms of Israel and Judah from the map of the world, have utterly perished. The descendants of the conquering Romans are undistinguishable from the rest of mankind. But eighteen hundred years after the Fall of Jerusalem, the dispersed Jewish people have a distinct existence, are a power in every European capital, conduct the financial operations of nations and governments, and are to be found wherever civilization has extended and commerce has penetrated; in fact, it has made all the world its home.
One obstacle to a matured and detailed ethnological study of the Jew is the difficulty of becoming familiar with a people scattered over the two hemispheres. Though the race is one, the two great factors blood and climate have shown it to be anything but immutable, either in physique or in character. Compare, for instance, the two extremes-the Tatar faced Karaïte of the Crimea with the Semitic features of Morocco, the blond lovelocks of Aden and the fiery ringlets of Germany with the greasy, black hair of Houndsditch. And as bodily form differs greatly, there is perhaps a still greater distinction in mental characteristics: we can hardly believe the peaceful and industrious Dutch Jew a brother of the fanatic and ferocious Hebrew who haunts the rugged Highlands of Safed in the Holy Land. Yet though these differences constitute almost a series of sub races, there is one essentially great quality which cements and combines the whole house of Israel.
The vigour, the vital force, and the mental capacity of other peoples are found to improve by intermixture; the more composite their character, the greater their strength and energy. But for generation after generation the Jews have preserved, in marriage at least, the purity of their blood. In countries where they form but a small percentage of population the range of choice must necessarily be very limited, and from the very beginning of history the Jew, like his half brother the Arab, always married, or was expected to marry, his first cousin. A well known traveller of the present day has proved that this can be done with impunity only by unmixed races of men, and that the larger the amount of mixture in blood the greater will be the amount of deformity in physique and morale to be expected from the offspring. Consanguineous marriages are dangerous in England, and far more dangerous, as De Hone has proved, in Massachusetts. Yet the kings of Persia intermarried with their sisters, and the Samaritan branch of the Jews is so closely connected that first cousins are almost sisters.
That depends. If a man is going to get his living by standing in a Christian pulpit, I should be obliged to answer, Yes! But if he is going to follow any other calling, or work at any trade, I should have to answer, No! There is absolutely no information in the Bible that man can make any use of as he goes through life. The Bible is not a book of knowledge. It does not give instruction in any of the sciences. It furnishes no help to labor. It is useless as a political guide. There is nothing in it that gives the mechanic any hint, or affords the farmer any enlightenment in his occupation.
If man wishes to learn about the earth or the heavens; about life or the animal kingdom, he has no need to study the Bible. If he is desirous of reading the best poetry or the most entertaining literature he will not find it in the Bible. If he wants to read to store his mind with facts, the Bible is the last book for him to open, for never yet was a volume written that contained fewer facts than this book. If he is anxious to get some information that will help him earn an honest living he does not want to spend his time reading Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Kings, Psalms, or the Gospels. If he wants to read just for the fun of reading to kill time, or to see how much nonsensical writing there is in one book, let him read the Bible.
I have not said that there are not wise sayings in the Bible, or a few dramatic incidents, but there are just as wise sayings, and wiser ones, too, out of the book, and there are dramas of human life that surpass in interest anything contained in the Old or New Testament.
No person can make a decent excuse for reading the Bible more than once. To do such a thing would be a foolish waste of time. But our stoutest objection to reading this book is, not that it contains nothing particularly good, but that it contains so much that is positively bad. To read this book is to get false ideas, absurd ideas, bad ideas. The injury to the human mind that reads the Bible as a reliable book is beyond repair. I do not think that this book should be read by children, by any human being less than twenty years of age, and it would be better for mankind if not a man or woman read a line of it until he or she was fifty years old.
What I want to say is this, that there is nothing in the Bible that is of the least consequence to the people of the twentieth century. English literature is richer a thousand fold than this so-called sacred volume. We have books of more information and of more inspiration than the Bible. As the relic of a barbarous and superstitious people, it should have a place in our libraries, but it is not a work of any value to this age. I pity men who stand in pulpits and call this book the word of God. I wish they had brains enough to earn their living without having to repeat this foolish falsehood. The day will come when this book will be estimated for what it a worth, and when that day comes, the Bible will no longer be called the word of God, but the work of ignorant, superstitious men.
Somebody ought to tell the truth about the Bible. The preachers dare not, because they would be driven from their pulpits. Professors in colleges dare not, because they would lose their salaries. Politicians dare not. They would be defeated. Editors dare not. They would lose subscribers. Merchants dare not, because they might lose customers. Men of fashion dare not, fearing that they would lose caste. Even clerks dare not, because they might be discharged. And so I thought I would do it myself.
A few wandering families -- poor, wretched, without education, art or power; descendants of those who had been enslaved for four hundred years; ignorant as the inhabitants of Central Africa, had just escaped from their masters to the desert of Sinai. Their leader was Moses, a man who had been raised in the family of Pharaoh and had been taught the law and mythology of Egypt. For the purpose of controlling his followers he pretended that he was instructed and assisted by Jehovah, the God of these wanderers.
Everything that happened was attributed to the interference of this God. Moses declared that he met this God face to face; that on Sinai's top from the hands of this God he had received the tables of stone on which, by the finger of this God, the Ten Commandments had been written, and that, in addition to this, Jehovah had made known the sacrifices and ceremonies that were pleasing to him and the laws by which the people should be governed.
In this way the Jewish religion and the Mosaic Code were established.
Paul MacLean concurred with my findings of where and how the schizophrenic process was taking place in the brain, and the findings have been confirmed with data on 9,000 persons with the disorder
Autism might relate to a similar process. Both involve activation of phylogenetically earlier developmental brain structures to the partial exclusion of later developmental ones.
I have identified unsuspected infant separation traumas in the first two years of life that correlate with the later development of schizophrenia. The identical traumas in the next year of life correlate with the later development of non psychotic major depression.
The mechanism is delayed posttraumatic stress disorder from infancy, and it is reactivated later in life by a similar separation from some other "most important person" (husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend -- or group). The flashback is a partial shift to the entire earlier gestalt, the earlier mind/brain/reality/ feelings/behavior/ chemistry/ physiology and neuroanatomic sites active and developing at the precise time of the earlier trauma during infancy.
The earlier brain structures produce more of the neurotransmitters involved in the disease process, and when reactivated they produce more. The corresponding deactivation of higher cortical structures results in disuse atrophy. Thus we have an apparent neurodevelopmental disorder -- but which really is a psycho-neurodevelopmental disorder. Sarnoff Mednick confirmed this for me on the 6,000 in the Finnish data base on Schizophrenia, and Mortensen provided data on the 2,700 in the Danish cohort on schizophrenia which was significant beyond .000001.
The gender ratio of 4-7 to 1 in autism causes me to wonder about early traumas in males that do not occur in females. The obvious one is circumcision -- without anesthesia and without the mother present. This occurs at a time when the infant is using reptilian and old mammalian brain. The reptilian brain is active or there would not be the Moro reflex, for example.
Early trauma could result in fixation of activity in early developmental regions of brain. These sites could serve as epileptogenic focal points of activity and be caused to perceverate -- to the exclusion of later developmental regions -- such as the language centers in the left posterier superior temporal gyrus -- which would then fail to develop.
I soon will be conducting a study in India, because Muslims and Hindus live side by side in the same culture. Hindus are not circumcised, but for muslims it is law by age three days.
Clancy D. McKenze, M.D.
Chairman, Dept of Behavioral Medicine
Capital University of Integratiive Medicine
A How-To Guide on overcoming fear, stress, anxiety and depression, by one who did.
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