George Sale, The Koran, commonly called the Alcoran of Mohammed, translated into English immediately from the original Arabic; with Explanatory Notes, taken from the most approved Commentators. To which is prefixed A Preliminary Discource (1734)
yielding some points of less moment, to gain the principal. The temple of Mecca was held in excessive veneration by all the Arabs in general (if we except only the tribes of Tay, and Khatháam, and some of the posterity of al Hareth Ebn Caab 1, who used not to go in pilgrimage thereto) and especially by those of Mecca, who had a particular interest to support that veneration; and as 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 bigottry with which they were addicted to that temple, and the rites performed there: wherefore, after several fruitless trials to wean them therefrom 2, he thought it best to compromise the matter, and rather than to frustrate his whole design, to allow them to go on pilgrimage thither, and to direct their prayers thereto; contenting himself with transferring the devotions there paid, from their idols to the true God, and changing such circumstances therein as he judged might give scandal. And herein he followed the example of the most famous legislators, who instituted not such laws as were absolutely the best in themselves, but the best their people were capable of receiving: and we find God himself had the same condescendance for the Jews, whose hardness of heart he humoured in many things, giving them therefore statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live 3.
The design of this and the two following sections.
Having in the preceding section spoken of the fundamental points of the Mohammedan religion, relating both to faith and to practice, I shall in this and the two following discourses, in the same brief method, of some other precepts and institutions of the Korân which deserve peculiar notice, and first of certain things which are thereby prohibited.
Of the prohibition of wine.
The drinking of wine, under which name all sorts of strong and inebriating liquors are comprehended, is forbidden in the Korân in