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)
Whereon The Mohammedan religion is built.
It has been already observed more than once, that the fundamental position, on which Mohammed erected the superstructure of his religion was, that from the beginning to the end of the world there has been, and forever will be, but one true orthodox belief; consisting, as to matter of faith, in the acknowledging of the only true God, and the believing in and obeying such messengers or prophets as he should from time to time send, with proper credentials, to reveal his will to mankind; and as to matter of practice, in the observance of the immutable and eternal laws of right and wrong, together with such other precepts and ceremonies as God should think fit to order for the time being, according to the different dispensations in different ages of the world: for these last he allowed were things indifferent in their own nature, and became obligatory by God’s positive precept only; and were therefore temporary and subject to alteration according to his will and pleasure. And to this religion he gives the name of Islâm, which word signifies resignation, or submission to the service and commands of God 1; and is used as the proper name of the Mohammedan religion, which they will also have to be the same at bottom with that of all the prophets from Adam.
Under pretext that this eternal religion was in his time corrupted, and professed in its purity by no one sect of men, Mohammed pretended to be a prophet sent by God, to reform those abuses which had crept into it, and to reduce it to its primitive simplicity; with the addition however of peculiar laws and ceremonies, some of which had been used in former times, and others were now first instituted. And he comprehended the whole substance of his doctrine under these two propositions, or articles of faith; viz. that there is but one God, and that himself was the apostle of God; in consequence of which latter article, all such ordinances and institutions as he thought fit to
1 The root Salama, from whence Islâm is formed, in the first and fourth conjugations, signifies also to be saved, or to enter into a state of salvation; according to which, Islâm may be translated the religion or state of salvation: but the other sense is more approved by the Mohammedans, and alluded to in the Korân itself. See c. 2. p. 16. and c. 3. p. 36.